A recovering drug addict wrote a letter to a Maine police station to thank one officer in particular who showed the unidentified writer some kindness.
The Portland Police Department posted the letter this week on Facebook with the permission of the author. In the letter, the former addict recounted the day he decided to go clean. He wrote that he was homeless on a Portland street after a friend kicked him out.
“For the first time in my life, I legitimately contemplated suicide,” said the writer. “I was so sick and tired of being sick and tired. I’d had enough, and I had hit a whole new bottom.”
He ended up calling the police when a man and woman propositioned him for sex. When Police Officer Sean Hurley arrived, the writer said he was surprised at how appreciative the officer was.
“Once I was done giving him the report, he sincerely thanked me for reaching out to the police,” he said in the letter. “Now, as an addict with a record who was strung out pretty bad, I would normally be extremely anxious and paranoid just having a cop talk to me, let alone having a conversation with one!”
The writer said he then broke down and explained to Hurley how he had ended up homeless and was trying to get over his heroin addiction. The cop then asked if there was anywhere he could take him so he wouldn’t have to stay on the street, including a shelter where people were allowed to have drugs and alcohol.
“That brought me to come to terms with a harsh reality: I would rather sleep on the streets on Portland than in a wet shelter,” said the writer. “Almost immediately after I said those words to Officer Hurley, I broke down and began bawling my eyes out. I couldn’t hold the tears back any longer.”
The writer then said Hurley teared up and offered to help out in another way.
“That display of genuine emotion touched my heart,” said the writer. “He also restored my faith in humanity on that day. His compassion, vulnerability, and inherent goodness just blew me away.”
The writer then said he has been clean since that moment of hitting bottom and that he thanks Hurley for taking time to be kind and thoughtful when he approached him.
“It’s really nice to hear back from someone you have an interaction with,” Hurley told ABC News. “If you deal with them at a pretty low point in their life, it’s great to hear back.”
The officer said he hasn’t seen the man who wrote the letter since that fateful encounter, but said that was likely a good thing, since he patrols an area with high amounts of drug crime. Hurley said he was surprised but thankful after reading the letter and seeing how his interactions could help people.
“You always want to listen to their struggle and hear what they’re going through,” he said. “Just like them, we’re all human.”