If you’re a parent, you know arranging last-minute childcare can be a challenge. But one San Diego dad recently got a little help in that department – and from the San Diego Police Department, no less.
The SDPD posted a sweet photo on its social media platforms over the weekend showing a San Diego police officer hanging out with a pair of 2 and 4-year-old sisters. The officer is holding the toddler and her blanket in one arm, while holding the hand of the older girl.
“No emergency is too small for our officers,” the social media post begins.
According to the police department, on Oct. 6, a young father living in the Alpha apartments with his two daughters called 911 because he was experiencing a medical emergency and needed to go to the hospital.
But he wasn’t calling authorities to get help for himself.
He needed help with his daughters.
SDPD said the man “had no family or friends to help watch the girls.” The dad needed someone to watch them while he received medical care.
So, two SDPD officers stepped in to babysit, Officer Adrianni Vital and Officer Daniel Clark.
“Officer Vital and Officer Clark arrived and saw that the dad just needed a helping hand during this emergency,” the social media post written by SDPD read. “The officers hung out with the kids for a couple of hours and gave the girls a ride to the hospital in one of our police cruisers. Dad was emotional and grateful for the support.”
The sweet story was met with mostly warm reception by San Diego residents.
“Humanity at its finest,” one person wrote on the Facebook post.
“These are the social situations that truly can and do help the community,” another person added to the thread.
“Now THAT’S protecting and serving,” another Facebook user wrote.
As of Tuesday, the post had made a dent in the viral world, with more than 4,400 likes on Facebook. It had also been shared over 800 times.
How It Happened
NBC 7 spoke with the SDPD southern division officers Tuesday who said this was an unusual call. Still, the police partners said they were happy to be able to help this family.
Vital, a San Ysidro native, has been with SDPD for about a year-and-a-half. He doesn't have kids, but hopes to one day have a family.
Clark, who is from New Jersey, has been with SDPD for one year and has a 3-year-old son. He and his wife have been married for seven years and they have another child on the way.
Both officers said the call tugged at their heartstrings.
“We’re humans,” Clark said. “I am a dad. I have a family. Police officers are human, too.”
Neither officer has ever come across a call quite like this, but they told NBC 7 they wanted to do whatever they could to help the girls feel comfortable while their dad was at the hospital.
“We didn’t want them to be scared or stressed,” Clark added.
Although one option was to take the girls to the Polinsky Children’s Center, a temporary emergency shelter for children, the family officers felt they could do more.
They wanted to make sure the girls could stay close to their dad, so they drove them to the hospital in their SDPD cruiser.
And what a ride that was.
Vital, for his part, said he was grateful his partner knew how to install the car seats.
“I was relieved he knew how to put them in!” he recalled.
As the dad of a 3-year-old, Clark is a pro at car seats. He’s also pretty good at knowing what a kid might want to listen to on the radio in the car.
He asked the girls what kind of music they liked, and what songs they wanted to listen to on the way to see their dad.
Clark said the girls requested “Baby Shark.”
So, “Baby Shark” it was.
His son loves the catchy kids’ tune, so Clark knew it well.
In all, Vital said they spent about two hours babysitting the girls.
“They were so full of energy, so sweet,” Vital said. “We had fun.”
Vital said the girls' father turned out to be OK. Since the Oct. 6 incident, the officers have even called the dad a few times to see how he’s doing. Vital hopes to visit with the family again one of these days.
In the end, Clark said they only did what they hope anyone in a similar situation would do.
“I’d want someone to do the same for my family,” he added.
And for both of them, moments like this are why they want to be police officers.
“I wanted to pursue this career to build relationships and to serve communities,” said Clark.
“I want my community to be safe, and to know we’re here for them,” Vital added.
When asked if they’d ever consider starting an officer babysitting business on the side, the SDPD partners laughed.
“Hey, maybe when we retire,” Clark said, with a chuckle.
Vital & Clark Babysitting, at your service?