A police officer who had been cleaning a young girl’s memorial site for years went viral after a TikToker shared his video in August. The cop was recently approached by the girl’s mom, who thanked him for his kind gesture.
It’s not often that we come across incredible stories involving random acts of kindness performed by selfless and kind-hearted people. While they don’t do good deeds for publicity, their work deserves to be praised, appreciated and shared.
Thanks to the power of social media, a policeman’s silent act of kindness has now reached millions of people worldwide, who have nothing but best wishes and immense gratitude for him.
A picture of the emotional moment when Shelby’s mom met Officer Stagg. | Photo: youtube.com/WthrIndiana
Twenty-two years ago, a young girl named Shelby Smith was killed by a drunk driver. When the Indianapolis cop Jeff Stagg stumbled upon her memorial site, he began tidying it up, removing weeds, overgrown grass, and trash around it. He spoke to CNN:
“I just decided I’m not gonna let Shelby’s death in this intersection be forgotten.”
Stagg explained that he wanted to keep the site presentable by preventing the rubbish and weeds from covering the beautiful cross, angel figurines, and rocks placed at the memorial. He also bought new plastic flowers to replace the old and withered ones.
The cop revealed that the memorial site happened to be in the middle of his beat, and he often drove past it. He was busy cleaning the spot like he usually did when a TikToker noticed him and stopped by to have a little chat. Stagg told him:
“I didn’t know her but I remember the incident. I just wanna make sure it stays kept up, someone needs to look after her memorial there (sic).”
The TikToker Kaleb Hall @kalebhall00 appreciated the cop’s kind gesture and shared the video of his conversation, which immediately went viral. It was then seen by Shelby’s mom, who wanted to meet the selfless cop and thank him for his efforts.
The TikTok video was shared in August, but Shelby’s mom, Sherry, couldn’t meet the cop until October. When she finally met him, she hugged him and thanked him for all the efforts he had undertaken to maintain the memorial. She also said:
“I knew I had to meet him because he had to be a very special person. And he is.”
Sherry then revealed that she and her family had looked after the memorial for years. However, she had been unable to visit often in the wake of the pandemic and now lived in Texas, where she moved nearly 12 years ago.
Shelby’s mom hugging Officer Stagg, thanking him for his incredible work. | Photo: YouTube.com/WTHR
Stagg then told Sherry that he had not been present at the time of her daughter’s accident but saw her friends put up the original memorial. They then told him what had come to pass that day, following which he began maintaining the memorial.
Talking further, Sherry said that her 18-year-old daughter had just finished high school when she died. She had plans to enroll at the University of Southern Indiana.
At the time of her accident, she was returning from her job and driving to her friend’s place when a drunk driver hit her car, and she couldn’t survive. Sherry said she became a part of Mothers Against Drunk Driving to raise awareness following the crash.
Netizens leave heartfelt comments on TikToker’s viral video of his chat with the police officer. | Photo: tiktok.com/kalebhall00
“What an amazing man! Much respect to him!”
Another one commented: “I wish all cops had a heart like this (sic).” Officer Stagg also expressed that everything he did was a part of his job, and he was glad his work was helping in making things a little better.
It seems that Officer Stagg isn’t the only one who knows a thing or two about inspiring the world with his simple act of kindness. There’s another cemeterian who likes to clean gravestones and walk through graveyards in her free time.
The TikToker Alicia Williams @ladytaphos posts videos of her cleaning headstones and looking after graves, and several of her clips have garnered popularity online. Many people appreciate the fantastic work she’s been doing for years.
Williams revealed she does so largely out of her love for genealogy and also to spread positive vibes. Undoubtedly, it’s because of people like Stagg and Williams that there’s still a lot of goodness left in this world.