Westland officer buys struggling dad new car seat after traffic stop

- When Lavante Dell saw the police lights he feared he was going to get a costly ticket for his tinted windows.

But this traffic stop turned out to be so much more.

"My heart dropped in my stomach, I thought I was going to get hammered with tickets, more stress, more bills," he said.

Westland police officer Joshua Scaglione walked up to the car and noticed Dell's 3-year-old daughter wasn't in a car seat.

"I asked him 'Why do you have your kids in the back without a car seat' and he's like, 'I can't afford it,'" Scaglione said. "So I took him out of the car, separated him from his family and asked him what's going on. He's like, 'Bills are building up, overtaking my income and I can't afford a car seat right now.'"

"He asked me do you need a car seat,' and I just looked at him," Dell said. "With hesitation I said yeah and he asked me where I was going and I said to Westland Mall. He looked around and said 'Can you follow me to Walmart."

Dell says in his wildest dreams he never imagined what would happen next. Both the man and the officer walked into Walmart like they were old friends and then Scaglione used his own money to buy this struggling father a car seat for his daughter.

But before Dell had a chance to thank him, he says the officer drove off.

"He was really shocked he was set back and you know it's not generally what I was looking for," said Scaglione. "I was just looking to help somebody out and pay it forward."

Wanting to show his extreme gratitude, Dell wrote a heartfelt Facebook post telling people never to judge a book by its cover. The post went viral, which brings us to this meeting.

"I had no other choice but to do that for you," Scaglione said to Dell upon their reunion. "You have a daughter and she is a No. 1 priority and you deserve it."

"I appreciate it," Dell said.

"You're welcome," said Scaglione.

"I wasn't looking for it, but it does feel good to help someone out who needs it," Scaglione said.

"A thank you is appropriate but I still don't think this is enough," Dell said. "Like I say he didn't have to do what he did - at all."


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