Q13 FOX Season of Giving

Single mom pulled over by cop and ‘almost in tears’ gets a pleasant surprise

BREMERTON, Wash. --  Sometimes, the difference between a good day and a bad one boils down to a fine line.  A few days ago, Bremerton Police Officer Steven Forbragd made a traffic stop.

"There was no front license plate on it, which is a common stop that I do,” says Forbragd.

Behind the wheel was Brittany Payne, with her 15-month-old son in the back seat.

“I looked in my rear view mirror and saw him whip around and I’m like, God, I don’t need this right now. What am I doing?” Brittany says.

"She was almost in tears right away, pretty much.  She said she’s a single mom and she didn’t have the tools to put the plates on,” says Forbragd.

Officers Johnny Rivera and Jen Corn just happened to be driving by. They stopped to help, using their tools to put Brittany’s license plates securely on her car.

Instead of a ticket, Rivera handed Brittany a $25 voucher for clothing for her son.

And after driving away, she shared the moment on social media -- and it took off.

Brittany says her interactions with police haven’t always been for good reasons.  She says she’s a proud survivor of domestic violence.  She’s a single mom.  And up until recently, she found herself homeless for a time with her little boy.

“I just thought it was going to be another kick to me and they definitely surprised me,” says Brittany.

Sometimes, the lines that connect us aren’t always so obvious.

Officer Rivera:  “I understand you're a vet?”

Brittany:  “I am.”

Officer Rivera:  “What was your rank in the Navy?”

Brittany:  “I was a gunner’s mate.”

Officer Rivera:  “You were a gunner’s mate?  I was a machinist’s mate.  From one vet to another…”

Brittany:  “…. thank you for your service.”

Officer Rivera:  “No, thank you for your service.”

If a fine line is what defines a good day from a bad one, maybe what defines us is our willingness to throw a line when someone really needs it.

Rivera says he’s been handing out those $25 vouchers for several years now. He says he gets them from the United Way and he shares them with families in need.