OPINION — Being witness to a Kearny cop’s epic act of human compassion …

On June 18, 2020, I witnessed something I wish I had recorded. I wish everyone in the world had seen this moment. Especially given the state of the our planet these days.

I’d just finished up in the office and I was heading to pick up lunch that at the Greeks, at around 2:15 p.m. I made way east down Seeley Avenue and waited for a traffic light at Elm Street (no turn on red until 4 p.m.)

Making a right turn onto Elm in the opposite direction was the Kearny Police radio car that had been controlling traffic at the 7-11 food giveaway earlier that day. The owners gave away 500 bags of groceries to those who came — no questions asked.

The vehicle turned slowly because I can only believe the two officers in it eyed a man, around 30, Black, crossing Seeley with a little girl holding his hand. She must have been 3. Perhaps she was even younger.

The man kept looking back out of the corner of his eye. I could sense he was — suspicious — to say the least.

One of the officers, I think it was Vic Girdwood, gets out of the SUV and says, loudly, “Sir, did you get groceries today at 7-11?” He had to say it twice.

The man and his little girl turned around, slowly, walked over to the vehicle, and as the officer opened the trunk, he handed him some of the leftover grocery bags.

This was one of the single greatest acts of kindness I have ever seen in 45 years on this planet.

It reminded me again why we are so blessed to have the PD we have. And if ever there was a doubt that all police officers are like the ones in Minneapolis, this was an epic example of how that just is not reality — just 23 days after the world stopped caring about the police.

Did the man crossing the street have worry in his eyes?

I am certain he did.

Was there even a second in my mind that he needed to worry?


Not for even a second.

Because we live in a special community — one where we take care of each other on a daily basis.

I sincerely mean it when I say this was the single-greatest example of kindness that I have ever seen. I wish you could have seen it, too. It was something I will never forget for as long as I live. And I would be remiss if I didn’t share this, right here, for everyone to read.

Talk about being in the right place at the right time. Had I left 15 seconds earlier — or later — from the office, I wouldn’t have been a witness to an incredible act of compassion. No one would have, likely, seen it.

But I am damn glad I did.

— Kevin Canessa

Learn more about the writer ...

Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.