Arlington officer helps single mom fix broken tail light to avoid ticket

The kindness of an Arlington police officer helped a struggling single mom avoid a citation.

The mom had a tail light out during a recent traffic stop. But instead of writing her a ticket, the officer made a judgment call that made all the difference.

Laura Grey is a single mom with five children. Times have been especially difficult lately. Now, it's time to get the kids ready for back to school. And a few months ago, a fender bender wiped out the left tail light on her van.

"I got insurance and I had the money," she said. "But it was, 'Do I keep the money to help with bills?'"

Grey felt what little luck she had had finally run out when saw the flashing lights in her rearview mirror.

"I said, 'The reason I stopped you is you got a broken taillight and your registration is out,'" recalled Arlington Police Officer Dale Horton.

But the traffic stop took a different turn. Horton found the tail light at a parts house, paid $100 for it and called on his mechanic friend, Rick Jones, to come out and make the repairs.

"The lady needs help," Horton said. "The ticket, all it would do is bury her deeper. No way any officer would've written that ticket."

"It was a huge relief to be able to drive and not worry, 'Am I gonna get pulled over?' and that I can spend the extra money on school clothes and school supplies," Grey said. "I don't get a lot of help, but to have that little bit of help means a whole lot to us."

Officer Horton has been in law enforcement for 35 years. He's always believed helping people is part of his job.

"When you have a female in the driver seat with two kids in the back, a child she's getting to work and she starts crying as she breaks down, and you can tell by her mannerism it's not fake, you watch her son who reaches over to confront her, you know…. they're in need." Horton said while holding back tears. "We've all been there. And as a Christian police officer -- I'll just tell you this -- that touches me more than a lot of people. So I was glad I was there."

Officer Horton says there are many officers who would have done the same thing and do every day.