Two San Diego police officers offered a helping hand – and a push home – to a Vietnam veteran after his motorized scooter broke down on a sidewalk about a mile from his house, in a moment of kindness caught on camera over Memorial Day weekend.
San Diego Police Department officers Eric Cooper and Milo Shields were on patrol just before 2 p.m. Sunday when they spotted a man on a motorized scooter that had broken down in the 7500 block of Clairemont Boulevard.
When officers spoke with the man – 67-year-old Vietnam War veteran Gilbert Larocque – he told them he depended on his power scooter to get around due to wounds sustained in combat.
Cooper and Shields took a look at the scooter and determined it was having battery issues and would not start.
The officers decided they couldn't drive Laroque home, leaving his only mode of transportation behind, so they decided to push him home on his scooter.
They took him all the way to his home at the Hickman Field Trailer Park, about a mile away.
“Being a veteran myself, I was gracious for his service to our country. The least I could do was push him,” said Shields.
For Cooper, whose dad is also a Vietnam vet, it was an easy decision.
“I look at it as: If it was my dad on the side of the road, I would hope anybody else would stop and do a good thing for the guy,” Cooper said.
Both officers said what they did wasn't something only police officers with a badge could do.
“I have no doubt that other citizens of San Diego would have stepped in and done it if we had not,” said Cooper.
Larocque was very grateful to the officers and kept telling them they had better things to do.
“It wasn’t about that. It was about helping him,” Shields said.
“We think about veterans one day a year. We should think about them more,” he added.
Cooper is an 8-year veteran of the department. Shields recently graduated from the academy and has been serving as an officer for several months.
In order to get back to their patrol car, the officers called their sergeant on the radio. They then hitched a ride back in the sergeant's air-conditioned cruiser.
The clip, provided by the San Diego Police Department, can be seen here or above.