Indiana officer who tied boy’s shoe in viral photo: ‘This is what we do’

Officer Ricky Howard bending down to tie a young boy’s shoe - Melissa Caballero

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Fort Wayne police officer helping a child tie his shoes is now talking about the moment that captured the hearts of many. The picture shows Officer Ricky Howard bending down to tie a young boy’s shoe and it’s gaining national attention.

Since NewsChannel 15 posted the story on Saturday, it got more 9,000 people’s attention.

Officer Ricky Howard regularly patrols the Centennial Townhomes neighborhood on the southeast side of town.

“He basically was running and his shoes weren’t tied and I said, ‘hey little man, you need to tie your shoes,’ he said, ‘I don’t know how’ and I said, ‘do you want me to do it?’ and he got real happy about it, said ‘yeah’, I got out, tied his shoes and I left, that’s it,” Officer Howard said.

It was enough time for Melissa Caballero to snap a picture while she was waiting for her family to arrive on Thanksgiving.

“I didn’t see the girl taking the picture nor do I know who the little boy is.”

The patrolman doesn’t know why the picture was posted or why so many paid attention.

“You get to know basically everybody out there, kids love cops, so this is what we do.”

However, it wasn’t long until thousands of eyes saw his good deed.

“It was a good thing, I guess, with all the negativity going on.”

His family soon got wind.

“I’m amazed first of all and there’s just a meriod of emotions,” Freta Howard, wife said, “This was a random act of kindness that my husband did and it’s just blown up and it’s becoming hopefully contagious.”

Howard has been on the force for 29 years.

“Whether he was wearing that uniform or that badge, that’s part of who Ricky is and again, I’m happy and proud right now,” Howard said, “All of us can make a difference, a positive difference. It was a big thing for that little kid, maybe he’s the next police officer, police chief, who knows.”

He’s retiring in January.

“He’s about to go into the end of a long, long career and I’m happy because he’s out to go out on a very high note. So, this has just made it more festive for our family.”

In her post Caballero thanks the officer for showing the youth that police aren’t bad. However, Howard is thanking her, too.

“If this is what it took to get people to understand we’re not all bad, thank you.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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