Hermann, Mo. man praises officer for kindness towards sick niece, while being cited with a ticket
ST. CHARLES, MO (KTVI) - He was pulled over for a traffic violation in St. Charles County. Matthew Manley was driving without the proper license plates. He was traveling with his 5-year-old niece. Manley was taking her home after she received chemotherapy from a St. Louis area hospital. She's been receiving daily doses in an effort fight off cancer.
"She's been through a lot," said Manley.
The Hermann, Missouri, man knew he failed to transfer his plates from his previous vehicle in time, and became nervous when he saw the St. Charles County Police Officer open the trunk of his police cruiser.
"I wasn't sure what he was doing," said Manley.
He sent a text to his wife.
"He texted me scared to death," said Dana Manley.
Officer Shawn Birdsong was grabbing a backpack filled with goodies for Manley's niece. The department carries backpacks with supplies for children thanks to a program called Project Backpack St. Louis. The backpack included clothes, art supplies and stuffed animals.
"Cops are doing their jobs, but they're people too," said Manley. "I don't think people realize that anymore."
The officer also placed a handwritten note into the bag that read, "From Officer Shawn: Hope you get to feeling better real soon." The note ended with a smiley face.
"That meant the world," said Dana Manley.
Dana shared her story on Facebook. She wanted everyone to know what St. Charles County Police Officer Shawn Birdsong did for her niece. He noticed the praise, and decided to make a thank-you call.
"It brought me to tears again," said Dana Manley. "He's called and checked on her 3 to 4 times since then."
The Manley's say they're not upset the officer wrote a ticket.
"It was his job to give us a ticket. He did exactly what he was supposed to do," said Dana Manley. "He just made this little girl's day a little better, and that's what matters."