LIVINGSTON, La. (The Livingston Parish News) — In August 2016, 6-year-old Chelsea Hammer was sitting in a hospital waiting room when Deputy Phil Lint approached.
Still shaken from the bus accident she was in earlier that morning, a shy Chelsea sat quietly as Lint plopped down next to her and struck up a casual conversation, hoping to put the young girl at ease.
They talked about all kinds of things in the brief time they shared together in the waiting room, with the conversation ranging from giraffes to their favorite foods. At one point, they even managed to sneak in a few selfies together, both smiling wide into the camera.
Now 10, Chelsea still talks about the cop who made her feel a little less afraid, made her smile, on that frightening day years ago.
And on a recent Friday morning, she got to say “thank you.”
Chelsea and her family got a chance to visit with Lint and his wife recently at the Livingston Parish Courthouse, nearly four years to the day after the two met following that frightful bus accident.
The meeting was arranged by Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Lori Steele, who received word of a social media post from Hammer’s mother, Stacy Scott, searching for Lint.
Scott said the search started after memories resurfaced on her Facebook timeline, reminding her of the deputy who helped her daughter stay calm following a bus accident when Chelsea was on her way to school.
Hoping to thank him in person for taking the time out of his day to talk with her daughter, Scott took to Facebook to get help identifying Lint, though she didn’t even have a name.
“Need help looking for this officer!” Scott wrote on Facebook, posting some of the selfies Chelsea and Lint took together. “Chelsea still talks about how he calmed her down and made her smile after the Livingston Parish bus accident. I would love for them to meet after four years. Not all cops are bad.”
Eventually, a friend on Facebook directed Scott to Lint’s wife, Stephanie, who has the only Facebook account in the house. Scott sent Stephanie a message and eventually word reached Steele, who arranged the reunion at the courthouse.
Scott, her daughter, and two others arrived at the courthouse first and spent a few minutes recounting that day four years ago. Though much time had passed, Chelsea was quick to say what she remembered most about “Deputy Phil.”
“He was funny,” she said smiling. “He made me laugh.”
For Scott, words couldn’t express what Lint’s actions meant to her as a mother.
“I just wanted to say ‘thank you’ for what he did for my daughter,” she said. “He didn’t have to sit there with her while she waited, but he did, and she still talks about it. With all the bad stuff out there, I believe it is right to point out when something’s good.”
After a few minutes, Lint and his wife walked into the room, with Lint clutching a bag full of goodies for Chelsea. Inside the bag was a blue line-themed face mask, a badge, a coloring book, pencils, and a box of crayons.
“Now you can’t eat those,” joked Lint, who also recalled their conversation about giraffes and their favorite foods.
There were many hugs given out during the reunion before everybody grouped together for a few keepsake photos.
After the family left, Lint expressed gratitude for Scott seeking him out, saying “days like this are what make this worth it.”
“We don’t get a lot of people who want to thank us,” Lint said, “so for them to take the time out of their day to want to thank me means a lot.”
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