Police Officer goes viral after helping 9-year-old girl


Florence Police Officer Justin Whitten went above and beyond to help a 9-year-old girl after her cat died this weekend. 

Officer Whitten said he noticed a young girl who looked heartbroken. When he approached her he learned she just witnessed her cat’s death.

Nine-year-old Makayla Hogue was playing with a neighbor when she noticed her cat get frightened.

“The cat got nervous and ran out in the road and got hit,” she said. “I ran into the road and picked her up while she was having a seizure and brought her home. I was thinking I could still do something while she was having the seizure but she passed away.” 

Hogue was devastated. Lucky for her, Whitten was in the right place at the right time and came to her rescue. 

“I just told her one way or another if the cat was going to be here or not that I was going to take care of it. That allowed her a piece of mind even as a 9-year-old,” he said.

But Whitten consoling Hogue was just the beginning. Once he spoke with Hogue’s mother, he realized they needed an extra hand with the situation, so he helped bury the young girl’s precious pet. 

“He took charge of the more responsible side of it and let me tend to her and what she was going through in the moment. He gave her a hug and told her he was going to make everything okay. I was not expecting him to come back but he came back over and brought Jerry,” Hogue’s mother, Toni Mercaldi added. 

Whitten took it one step further. Once he finished his shift for the day, he went out and bought the young girl a new cat. One named Jerry. Whitten said he wanted to make sure she ended the day with a smile. 

“You know a lot of times, as a told her mother, we don’t get to decide how the outcome goes, This is one of those things where I had every bit of power to decide how it went and it wasn’t a cop helping a little girl, it was a human helping a human,” Whitten said. 

This story was shared by Mercaldi on Facebook. Since its posting it has seen thousands of shares, comments, and likes. Both Mercaldi and Whitten said they’re all about keeping positivity in the World. 


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