He had been out on a job for six hours and just wanted a quick bite to eat before a 100-mile journey back to his police station.
So 25-year-old PC Andre Owen of Sussex Police was far from amused when one woman scorned him for buying a meal from Burger King to keep him going.
Owen posted a picture of his Double Whopper meal on social media that has since had more than 9,000 likes and 1,500 retweets.
“Police are humans too,” he tweeted about the incident, which occurred on his patch in Brighton.
“To the lady that scorned me for buying food on duty,” the 25-year-old officer’s post began.
“I’ve not stopped since 07:05 this morning, not even for [a] toilet break. I’m over 100 miles from my station and I’m due off in 45 mins…. with a two-hour journey at least!!!! #policearehumantoo,” he wrote, attaching a photo of the meal from the fast-food chain to his tweet.
It didn’t take long for the post to go viral with thousands of likes and shares, garnering Owen, who had worked for the Sussex Police for five years, more attention than he ever imagined.
Speaking with the UK’s Mirror, he explained that he’d had an incredibly busy day before the woman called him out.
During his shift, a police officer stopped at a Burger King to grab some food. He hadn’t eaten in 8 hours and was starving.
Before he could enjoy a meal, however, he noticed a woman giving him dirty looks. Then, she turned toward him and said he shouldn’t stop for food while on duty.
The unnamed female decided to shame Owen by calling him out for buying food during his shift. That’s when the officer unleashed the best response possible.
While working a grueling 12 hours shift, PC Owen stopped for a quick lunch break when he was shamed by the stranger. Shocked by how the woman reacted to him taking a moment to eat after spending seemingly endless hours helping others, Owen took to Twitter to share his story.
Read more of this report from Taphaps:
It was 2 pm that day, and he was tired, hungry, and ready to finish his shift at 3 pm. Unfortunately, he still had a hundred-mile journey ahead of him before he’d be back at the station. A stack of paperwork awaited him to be completed before he could go home.
“Five minutes after starting my shift, I was assigned to a serious job in Brighton. I dealt with that and then had to drive nonstop to Oxford as part of the same job, single crewed,” he said. “Half an hour into the return journey, I stopped at a service station for my first toilet stop of the day! While there, I also got a double whopper meal, apple pie, Coke, and a cappuccino.”
Of course, it was then that the stranger chose to make assumptions about the situation when she saw the officer in uniform. “A lady, eating her own food, kept staring at me while I waited,” Owen recalled. “I collected the food and as I left she said something similar to ‘while you’re in here stuffing your face, there are criminals that need catching out there,’ I smiled, and just walked away without saying a word.”
But, his silence didn’t last long. “I put it on Twitter and the tweet gathered so much momentum with such positive support,” Owen explained, adding that the tweet wasn’t intended for sympathy, but to show the public the harsh reality of his job. What’s more, his long day didn’t end with the rude encounter.
On his route back to the station, Owen came across a broken-down car. Although it was past the end of his shift, he stopped and assisted, halting traffic and getting a couple and their children to safety. “I then waited for recovery to pick them up, using my blue lights to provide protection to all around. It added another hour onto my already long day,” Owen explained. He finally finished his shift at 7 pm.
“While it’s long, and the lady annoyed me at the time, I love my job and on the whole, wouldn’t change it for the world,” PC Andre Owen said. Indeed, most police officers do love their jobs, even when the hours are long and thankless. There’s no doubt, it takes that love to get them through the demands they face.
After all, it takes a great amount of commitment to risk your life for complete strangers, many of whom would scoff at you for the minor offense of taking a lunch break — something everyday citizens are able to do without a second thought. The next time you see an officer grabbing a quick bite, offer a smile instead of an assumption. You don’t know what he or she has been through or what they are about to face — and remember, they are only human too.