We've all seen it before, either in real life or on our television screens: a team of tired and sweaty prisoners doing outdoor work while a guard watches over them. We think we know everything there is to know about scenes like this - the dangerous criminals plotting their escape and waiting for any chance they can get to bust out of prison. In fact, people are much more complicated than we give them credit for.
Six prisoners from Polk County, Georgia proved that last week, when they saved the life of the sheriff's department officer assigned to watch them.
It was a scorching summer day, as hot as 76 degrees outside with 100% humidity, and a team of prisoners were assigned to do yard work at the local cemetery before Fathers' Day crowds arrived. The officer complained the heat was affecting him, and asked the inmates to call for help using his phone if anything happened.
According to NBC News, the officer keeled over just a few minutes later, and the inmates snapped into action. The guard's belt had his gun and keys hanging on it, everything they could ask for to make a clean getaway, but that thought didn't even cross their minds.
Click the next page to see why these prisoners are being called heroes!
While one prisoner ran to get help, the others turned the officer onto his back. They used his phone to call for help, and pulled off the man's shirt and bulletproof vest in the meantime, hoping it would help him cool off. It's not what most people would expect from 6 convicted criminals - passing up the chance to get away scot-free - but the inmates say they didn't even think of escaping.
"When that happened, in my opinion, it wasn't about who is in jail and who wasn't," says Greg Williams, one of the men on work detail "It was about a man going down and we had to help him."
While the officer was in scary shape - he was apparently breathing "real heavy and real fast" - an ambulance arrived quickly.
In a speech thanking the 6 heroic inmates, Polk County Sheriff Johnny Moats said they "really stepped up in a time of crisis and show that they care about my officers."
As a reward, the inmates were treated to an outdoor lunch with dessert, provided by the family of the man they saved. Hopefully, this uplifting story will make people think twice about making snap judgments. You really can't judge a book by its cover, even if it's striped!
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