Touching photo of officer comforting toddler at hospital goes viral

Posted at 5:51 PM, May 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-13 19:51:13-04

SAVANNAH, Ga. – A photo of a Georgia police officer comforting a 16-month-old boy at a Savannah-area hospital has garnered the policeman praise and national attention.

Officer James Hurst of the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department was called to escort the toddler to a hospital after he was found wandering a sidewalk alone, according to a news release.

The child became distraught during a medical exam, prompting Hurst — who remained by his side — to pick him up and comfort the little boy.

“I just knew this child needed somebody to be there for him,” the officer said. “It was just human instinct; humanity. The hospital staff was taking great care of him [but] he was sobbing and crying. I picked him up and within minutes he was asleep on my chest.”

The picture, posted Monday on the department’s Facebook page, quickly went viral. News outlets around the country have picked up the story, and many social media users are praising Hurst’s actions.

“Out of the countless times I have seen Officer Hurst out on the streets, every single time he has gone above and beyond his line of duty,” wrote Facebook user Sara Kraai. “If any of you get the opportunity to meet him please shake his hand, he’s defiantly a deserving soul.”

For his part, Hurst said he was just doing his job, and wasn’t expecting the incident to attract widespread attention.