Officer John-Paul Dorais, of the Meriden Police Department in Connecticut, was on duty one night when he came across something heartbreaking. Dorais found a homeless woman sleeping in a shed, bundled up in makeshift blankets to keep away from the cold. The sight the officer saw touched his heart and he immediately felt obligated to help her.
After speaking to the homeless woman, Dorais explained, “I sympathized with her, she was well-educated, well-spoken, she was just going through a really difficult time.” It didn’t take long before Dorais and his partner officer Jeff Witkin took in the homeless woman and proceeded to find her a place to stay.
The officers visited a number of homeless shelters but were unfortunately turned away. The officers felt disheartened but didn’t want to abandon their mission. Dorais said “”We exhausted all our other options,” but there was one thing that sprung to his mind.
The officer recalled “That’s when I turned to Jeff and said ‘What could it really cost us to buy her a motel room?'” Witkin was equally eager to help the woman and his partner said of his response, “He said, ‘I’ll go half.’ He didn’t even skip beat. So we made it happen.” The officers and the woman headed towards Comfort Inn & Suites as Dorais knew the front desk clerk and thought they would be able to sort out some kind of deal.
Dorais approached his acquaintance at the front desk and explained the situation and luckily, they felt obligated to help too. The hotel agreed to give them a discounted rate for their acts of kindness and due to the importance of the situation.
While Officer Dorais was handing over his credit card for charge, his partner Witkin snapped a photo which was later posted on the Meriden Police Department’s Facebook page. The story and photo went viral online, racking up thousands of like and hundreds of comments from people commending the generosity and compassion of the officers.
However, Dorais was not a social media user and it wasn’t until he received a call that he realized what had happened. He said “My sister called me and was like, ‘Did you buy a hotel room for a lady?’ And I was like ‘Yeah.’ And she was like, ‘it’s all over Facebook.’”
Despite his altruism and kindness, Dorais remained humble and self-effacing, adding “Police officers do tons of great things that people don’t know about all the time, I’ve seen officers do bigger and better things than what we did. Really it was small in comparison.”