Auburn officer helps homeless mother caught shoplifting warm clothes for her kids

An Auburn police officer’s response to a shoplifting call turns into an act of kindness. Officer Nicholas King is being recognized in the community for going beyond the call of duty to help a mother and her five children who are homeless.

King was dispatched to the local Walmart for what he thought would be a usual shoplifting call. He was informed the mother was being held in the store’s security office for stealing warm clothes and food for her kids.

“It was just overwhelming to see...that’s often hard to deal with,” said King, while holding back tears.

King said he has met the mother and her children out on the streets before. He said there was something different about seeing her this time around. That’s why he answered the call for shoplifting by pulling out his wallet to pay for the items her family needed instead of writing a ticket. King said he believed the situation required compassion, not enforcement.

“Makes you definitely appreciate your family a little bit more when you see stuff like that and appreciate the luxuries and the things we have in life,” said King.

The officer, also a father of four, has been with the Auburn Police Department for four and a half years. After serving in the military, King said he wanted to continue his life’s purpose of helping the community.

“Make an impact in people’s lives. There’s a lot of people that need help am so feel like I’ve been blessed to be in a position in order to serve people,” said King.

In a time when so many people are struggling with life’s challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, King said that’s when the community steps in to serve.

“Being human and paying it forward to the best of your ability. If you’re in a position to help and you see somebody that needs help, we need to break the stigma of not accepting handouts or helping people. Helping people is what we should do. It’s humanity to its core,” said King.

The police department awarded the officer a certificate for his act of kindness. King said the mother has her struggles, but she is receiving services from King County to help her become more self-sufficient.