A San Diego man and a local police officer came to terms on a trade Thursday that helped the whole city.
The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department received multiple reports from concerned citizens in the Sports Arena area regarding a transient man who was walking around wearing bright yellow fire department clothing.
The clothing, described as personal protective gear worn by firefighters working brush fires, had SDFD labeled on the back, which piqued some interest.
Those reports led to an on-and-off search in and around the area to locate the man, according to SDFD Battalion Chief Kerry-Shannon Grieser.
Shortly after 6 p.m., Chief Grieser, who is a Battalion Chief for units in the Midway District and Sports Arena area, located the man near Congress and Taylor streets at the Old Town transit center, still sporting the outfit.
Chief Grieser contacted San Diego Police Department to have an officer assist her in contacting the male and within several minutes, two SDPD officers, paired with two PERT clinicians arrived at the location.
The group spotted the male and briefly detained him to investigate.
After explaining the importance of the clothing to the male, he "graciously returned the garments back to me, so I could launder them and give them back to a firefighter who needed them," said Chief Grieser.
Once it was determined that no crime had been committed, SDPD Officer Tyler Smith made the generous offer to take the man, identified as Valentine, to a local Goodwill store and purchase him a new jacket, pants and backpack to ensure he would stay warm, according to SDPD Sgt. Ariel Savage.
Savage told NBC that Valentine told officers on the scene that he found the turnouts in an alley and put them on to stay warm. Chief Grieser said she was not certain on how it came about that Valentine got his hands on the turnouts, but was thankful he was willing to return them.
"It’s nice to know that because he was without warm clothes, the officer did something extraordinary and bought the man some clothes," said Chief Grieser.
Officer Smith said that he “figured since we just took his outer layers, he’d offer to buy him a sweater and pants." Smith offered to take the Valentine down to Goodwill store on Rosecrans and Valentine agreed.
Smith purchased Valentine a Navy-style camouflaged jacket, a pair of jeans, as well as a backpack to store his personal belongings.
Officer Smith has been on the department, out of training for about a year. He told NBC 7, “I deal with a lot of transient issues, we do what we can, to keep the streets clean. When we encounter those experiencing homelessness, we try to provide as many resources as possible to those who need it.”