SLIDELL, LA (WVUE) - A nine year old boy made a touching gesture to a Slidell police officer, but the officer had one regret about the chance meeting, so he reached out to the public for help.
Officer Joe McMahan was driving when another person asked him to pull over. After pulling over, a woman asked if she could give something to McMahan.
The nine year old, identified as Jayden Witsell, stepped out of the passenger side of the car and approached the police cruiser. The boy asked if he could give something to Witsell.
"For a moment, I didn't know what to expect. The young man handed me an envelope that stated 'police lives matter' and on the opposite side said 'God bless,'" McMahan said in a post on Facebook.
The envelope contained a St. Michaels coin. The card inside said, "Keep this coin in your pocket. Thank you for putting your life on the line to keep me and others safe. God Bless, Jayden Witsell, 9 years old."
McMahan said he began to smile and felt warm.
"It has been a long time since someone said thank you in this magnitude. This is what I remember about becoming a police officer 16 years ago. The brave young man was able to stand up when everybody else is looking down at us," McMahan wrote.
He said the bravery that Witsell showed reminded him of what the United States is about and what the country was founded upon.
He compared his joy to seeing his own child walk for the first time.
McMahan's only regret is that he did not take a photograph with the boy.
"I want a photo of me and my hero," McMahan said.
After the note was posted on social media, Witsell and his mother were found. They are scheduled to meet with Slidell police Friday.