A Maryland police officer's viral act of kindness for a mother caught stealing.

FOX's Krystin Goodwin has the story:

Laurel police officer Bennett Johns responded to a shoplifting call at a grocery store. Officers say a 20-year-old mother tried to steal two packs of diapers for her infant son. She had run out of money after buying groceries and didn't have the extra $15. While the unidentified mother was given a citation for shoplifting, Officer Johns paid for the diapers out of his own pocket so the "young child didn't have to suffer."

In a statement on Facebook the department thanked Officer Johns "not for just fairly enforcing the law, but also showing empathy to an innocent child put in a difficult situation."

Thousands are reacting and applauding the officer for his "compassion." The department added the young mother will receive support from social services.

I'm Krystin Goodwin, FOX News.

Follow Krystin Goodwin on Twitter: @KrystinGoodwin