A man was taking his 5-year-old niece home from the hospital after she received a dose of chemotherapy when he caught the attention of a police officer, who was watching for moving vehicle violations. The man was pulled over, and the situation quickly became unnerving for the uncle and the little girl when the cop began acting oddly. That’s when the driver sent a frantic text message to his wife.
Matthew Manley made an emotionally exhausting trip every day with his sick little niece, Sydney Renee Manley, who was struggling with kidney cancer. With each day being filled with caring for this child and helping her to get better, other tasks in life had fallen through the cracks. One such neglected errand was transferring his plates from his previous vehicle to his current ride, which he became painfully aware of when he passed by a cop.
Matthew felt nervous as soon as he saw the officer, knowing that he was likely to be pulled over because of the plates. Sure enough, the patrol car came up behind him with lights flashing. Manley anxiously waited and watched as the cop, Officer Shawn Birdsong, began digging around in his patrol car, which gave the man a very uneasy feeling.
Matthew Manley sent a message to his wife, Dana Manley, expressing his fear at that moment. “He texted me scared to death,” Dana explained to KTVI, recalling her husband’s reaction to not having any clue about what the cop was doing.
Officer Birdsong eventually emerged from his patrol car holding a backpack from the trunk of his vehicle, and he handed it to Matthew to give to the sick little girl. There was a care package of sorts inside the backpack, containing stuffed animals, art supplies, and clothing, along with a handwritten note the officer had slipped in there.
Another written note was handed to Matthew Manley — a ticket for his license plate problem, which the driver and his wife were not upset about receiving. “It was his job to give us a ticket. He did exactly what he was supposed to do,” Dana wrote in a praising post on Facebook, sharing the unexpected touching gesture from Officer Birdsong. “He just made this little girl’s day a little better, and that’s what matters.”
But, the officer’s kindness to the Manleys and little Sydney didn’t end with the ticket. After learning of Dana’s post about him on Facebook, the cop called the family to say thank you for her kind words. He also wanted to follow up on how their precious niece was feeling, and he later called back three to four more times since then, for the same caring reason.
Officer Birdsong’s simple effort, picking up the phone to show that he’s thinking about this little girl in the middle of a huge fight for her health, has moved Dana to tears. “Cops are doing their jobs, but they’re people too,” Dana said. “I don’t think people realize that anymore.”
With all of the kind cop stories getting the much-needed attention to change the negative mindset that society has about police, this one is particularly special since it came out of the St. Louis area — the epicenter of hate for law enforcement. It’s time to give credit where it’s due, and that’s to all the brave men and women who suit up every day to make a difference in their communities, unlike the people who complain about them.