A Kansas police officer says he was just doing his job when gave a bicycle and duffel bag to a homeless man who had been commuting five hours per day by foot to his job as a cashier while he tried to save money for an apartment.
Officer Zach Stamper, 30, of the Roeland Park Police Department told ABC News he first met Samuel Meixueiro last Wednesday when he received a call reporting a suspicious person in a local park.
Stamper found Meixueiro sitting in the park taking a break on his walk to work from the church where he was staying in Kansas City, Missouri, to his job at a liquor store in Mission, Kansas.
“He said, ‘This is the deal. I’m taking a rest,’” Stamper recalled. “I felt for the guy because my commute, I get in my vehicle and drive to work. It’s five minutes.”
“This guy, his job means everything to him,” Stamper said. “He said he was saving up for an apartment and had to have this job so I thought, okay, let’s try to get this guy some help.”
Stamper says he gave Meixueiro a ride to his job that day and, while loading Meixueiro’s possessions in his patrol car, noticed that the zipper on his suitcase was broken.
“I went to my home and got him a duffel bag that I had in my basement and brought it to him at his work,” Stamper said. “I said, ‘You’re trying to make the best out of a bad situation that you’re in and I respect that.’”
Stamper then returned to work and told his boss, Chief of Police Edward Morris, about Meixueiro’s situation.
“I said, ‘He seems like he’s one of those guys who is down on his luck and needs a leg up,’” Stamper said.
A background check on Meixueiro found that he was a registered sex offender but Stamper says the charges were 20-years-old and helping Meixueiro became “more about the future and the present than the past.”
“Obviously we don’t condone, but due to it being 20 years ago and him doing everything to get his life back on track, we decided to help him out,” Stamper said.
Stamper and Morris realized the city has a collection of bicycles that have been either surrendered or abandoned and found a nearly brand-new condition bicycle for Meixueiro to use.
After cleaning the bike and putting air in the tires, Stamper surprised Meixueiro with the bike at his job.
“He was brought to tears and I think he was pretty taken aback by it,” Stamper said. “He wasn’t out begging for money, he was doing everything he could to get ahead.”
Stamper’s actions have garnered him attention online and in the local community, and Stamper says this was not the first nor will it be the last time he helps a citizen in need.
“As an officer, my job is to serve and protect and this is what I’m doing to help my community,” he said. “99 percent of the officers that I’ve ever met would have done the same thing.”