A Gulfport police officer on routine patrol caught the attention of a motorist and the rest of Facebook for his act of kindness Tuesday morning.
Officer Mike Hauler stopped morning traffic on southbound U.S. 49 to rescue a kitten that had been injured trying to cross the busy highway.
Annie Glass Grinnell posted a photo showing Hauler kneeling down to pick up the kitten. His squad car, blue lights flashing, is in the background.
“On my way to work at Memorial (Hospital on Tuesday) morning, I witnessed the kindest thing,” Grinnell posted. “An officer a bit up ahead of me turned on his blue lights ... and did a relatively quick (but safe) U-turn into oncoming traffic toward me and all of the other work traffic on Highway 49. I immediately stopped and turned on my flashers to block the left lane behind me as I realized what he was doing.
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“A small kitten, who was still moving but badly and most likely mortally wounded, had been hit by a car. This big, kind officer stopped traffic from repeatedly running over this little guy and removed him from the scene. He started to walk to the grass but you could see that he didn't want to just leave him so he put him in his patrol car and quickly released the traffic.”
Grinnell was correct. The kitten did not survive its injuries.
But she was moved by the officer’s kindness to the injured animal and snapped the photo she posted to Facebook during National Police Week. The post has since garnered more than 1,500 reactions, more than 1,000 shares and 180 comments.
“As I passed him, I said, ‘Thank you for that, Officer. That was very kind.’ He merely nodded his head in acknowledgment and proceeded to get into his car.”
Grinnell said she made the post to bring attention to the kind deed of the officer, especially one who would go out of his way for a good deed beyond their normal duties, which are sometimes dangerous.
“It was a tragedy to see the little kitten in peril, but truly beautiful to witness such a thoughtful act of sensitivity and kindness,” she said.
Hauler, a nine-year veteran of the force, said he’s an animal lover who has dogs and fish at home.
“I’m a huge animal lover,” he said. “I don’t like to see animals get hurt. If it’s in the road, I’ll get it out if I can.”