May 17, 2023

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:35

LaVonte Dell was on a drive with his young daughter when Westland, Michigan police officer Joshua Scaglione pulled in behind him and turned on his lights. Suddenly, LaVonte was overcome with a terrible, sinking feeling in his stomach.  LaVonte was being pulled over for having tinted windows that were too dark. What Officer Scaglione found when he approached the car was LaVonte’s young daughter, riding without a car seat.

The logical next step would have been for the officer to issue a ticket to LaVonte for failing to secure his daughter in a proper seat. What happened next was a surprise to this young father. Officer Scaglione took a few moments to listen to LaVonte and the difficulties that he had been experiencing over the past year.  After listening Officer Scaglione simply asked, “Could you follow me to Walmart? I would be happy to buy the car seat for her.”

LaVonte was shocked. Just a few moments before, he was sure that the officer was going to throw the book at him. Now they were walking through Walmart together to purchase a new car seat. They purchased a pink seat because that was LaVonte’s daughter’s favorite color.  This was not at all what LaVonte expected when he saw those red and blue lights in his rearview mirror.

Officer Scaglione was well within his rights to issue more than one ticket to LaVonte, but after hearing his story he decided that wouldn’t help. Scaglione told ABC news, “I’ve been in a tough situation like this guy before. I figured it’d be better to help him out and raise more awareness about safety rather than give him a ticket that would dig him deeper in a hole and make things worse for him.”  Officer Scaglione chose to act out of compassion. He took time to hear LaVonte’s story and acted to help.

This encounter shows us that grace can truly make a difference in a person’s life. Officer Scaglione’s compassion broke through preconceived notions and helped create a safe environment for a young girl. When we choose compassion, we decide to look beyond the situation and see the needs of the people involved. When we extend grace and respond in love, we can lift others out of their current circumstances. A simple act of compassion and grace can make a welcome difference in a person’s life.  When God’s people choose to act this way, we keep others going forward.

– Rev. Keith King, Pastor of Worship