25-year police veteran Deputy Brian Bussell of Butler County Sheriff’s Office found a woman, identified as Tierra Gray, and her two young children sitting in the Butler County police station early on Sunday morning, and assumed the family was there for visiting hours.
But when he returned awhile later and found the children asleep in the chairs and the woman just sitting there in the jail lobby, he knew they were in need of assistance.
Gray told WCPO, “I’m thinking he’s going to say, ‘You guys can’t be here any longer… You have to find something else.’”
According to the viral Facebook post that currently has nearly 19,000 Facebook likes, the officer instead asked them if they needed help, to which Gray explained to him that she had been evicted from her home in Oxford, Ohio where the children attend school.
Since, Gray said, they have bounced from friends to family to church members’ homes. Finally, they turned to the police station for refuge, where they were met with blankets and allowed to stay in the lobby overnight.
She stated she is in the waiting process for assistance with housing and should know something by Wednesday. Deputy Bussell, with the assistance of Dispatch Supervisor Miranda Sheppard, called around and tried several shelters and other avenues to get them a place to stay, but they had no luck.
“Most of the shelters were overcrowded or there was a time requirement to be there and we were past that,” Deputy Bussell said.
In response, Deputy Bussell contacted a hotel in Oxford and booked a hotel for 10 days out of his own pocket.
Not only that, but Deputy Bussell also took the family on a Walmart shopping spree and told them to pick out any clothes they wanted and to call him when they were ready to check out. The little boys asked if they could get shoes, and Deputy Bussell told them they absolutely could.
“He went to the Walmart when they were done and paid for everything,” Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones said on the Facebook post.
“This is a true act of kindness. He did not tell anyone at work what he had done but the lady took a picture with him and posted it on Facebook,” he added. “That’s actually how we found out. It was shared so many times that I got a phone call asking if I knew what a generous gesture my deputy did. I am pleased that he was able to help this family out.”
In the meantime, Gray said family and friends are trying to gather enough money to get the young family a place to live. Gray’s husband is working in Cincinnati in hopes of saving enough money to buy a car.
Sheriff Jones noted in the post that Bussell’s selfless dedication to this family is a great example that, in spite of the onslaught of negative sentiment toward police officers, many are kindhearted people devoted to the public.