CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. – Brad Watkins stopped his vehicle, saw the flooded street in front of a daycare and a noticed a police officer working the scene.
He figured something bad had happened. He grabbed his cellphone and started filming.
“It was really heavy water coming through here,” he recalled.
He held his phone steady as he watched the officer scoop up the children getting off a school bus, two at a time, and carry them through the water to the day care.
It took the officer several trips to get them all.
Watkins, a father himself, said it really warmed his heart.
Workers at the day care center felt the same way.
“It was amazing,” said Shahnazz Jones-Hays, who was on the receiving end of the officer bearing children. “He said, ‘Don’t let them cross the street yet’ and he went over and just started picking them up. And they were just smiling – they were so excited.
Imagine: the strange flood of water, a big-uniformed officer picking you and carrying you to safety.
Chesterfield County police officer Michael Green said he imagined his own 3-year-old son having to go to day care with wet shoes and pants. That just wouldn’t do.
“I always think about him,” Green said. “Every second of the day. He’s my pride and my joy.”
Green said he had no idea a citizen was filming him from about 40 yards away. But he is glad to be on the bright side of a videotaped incident.
But within a short bit of his act of human kindness, he was wrestling with a dog that bit his hands so vigorously, “it brought me to my knees,” Green recalled later.
This, too, started as an act of kindness. A woman flagged him down, concerned that a dog running in the road was going to get hit by a car.
It was a small dog. A poodle.
Officer Green managed to grab him out of harm’s way, and that’s when he his good deed came back to bite him.
Numerous times. On the hands and fingers.
Officers who came to help were able to find the dog’s owner and verify the poodle’s shots were up to date. Officer Green went to the hospital, got bandaged and was prescribed antibiotics.
He laughed about his up-and-down afternoon of wet feet, laughing children, a snarling poodle and bloody hands.
“All in a day’s work,” he said with a bright smile.
As he spoke, the rain clouds shifted and a rainbow formed beyond his shoulder above Colonial Heights.