The story of a Milwaukee mother in need — and a generous police officer — is touching hearts across the country.
When Officer Kevin Zimmermann pulled over Andrella “Lashae” Jackson this October for a registration issue, he noticed her young daughters didn’t have car seats.
Zimmermann walked up to the car and saw two little girls standing up and waving at him. He asked Jackson why the children didn’t have car seats, and she said she couldn’t afford them. She was tight on money as she needed to buy winter coats and boots for the girls, she has said in interviews.
Instead of giving her a ticket, Zimmermann bought her two car seats, then installed them.
Jackson and her daughters were thankful for the help. In a Facebook post that has more than 1,000 likes, she wrote:
“My girls couldn’t stop thanking him, and it made them smile. … We appreciate it a lot.”
Zimmermann has children of his own, he said in an interview, and he often sees bad crashes with kids involved. He wanted to make sure Jackson’s daughters were safe.
“It’s always in the back of my head what those scenes look like,” he said. “I really wanted to help her out.”
Zimmermann said he’s been wanting to do a good deed like this for a while — but “all the stars aligned” on this day, and he had time to buy the seats. While he was with Jackson at the traffic stop, dispatch called him to Walmart for another situation. He took down Jackson’s phone number, arrived at Walmart to find the incident resolved and headed to the car seat section.
He dialed Jackson to ask how much the girls weighed — to get the correct seats — and was surprised when she answered.
“‘I want to do something for you and your kids, but I need your kids’ weights,'” he remembers telling her.
Zimmermann spent about $75 on the seats, then stopped at the station to pick up stickers and books for Jackson’s daughters. When he got to Jackson’s house with the surprise gifts, she was shocked and appreciative, he said.
He showed Jackson how to buckle in the girls safely and how to fill out the registration card in case of recalls. They posed for a picture and Zimmerman went on his way. He didn’t know the story would go viral, he said.
His parents taught him “to always do the right thing when no one’s looking. That’s kind of always been my philosophy,” Zimmermann said. “I don’t care about the PR.”
Officers in his District Five buy food and toys for children all the time but haven’t received the kind of praise he’s gotten, Zimmermann said. Helping others is part of being a police officer, he said.
The act of kindness has garnered national attention. The Milwaukee Police Department commended him in a post “for going the extra mile and going above and beyond your call of duty.”
National media outlets including CNN and Yahoo News have picked up Jackson’s story as well as local TV stations in states as far away as Montana, Colorado and New York.
Commenters love the feel-good story, too.
“With all the bad news it’s refreshing to hear something positive,” one woman wrote.
“Now this is protecting and serving,” another commenter wrote. “So glad your babies got some goodies and you got peace of mind knowing they are riding more safely.”
Zimmermann’s good deed is inspirational, another Facebook commenter said.
“Thank you (Officer) Zimmermann for your kindness and generosity to this family. Your gift has produced many smiles and warmed many hearts,” she wrote in a comment.
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