Kid's Gas Pump Gesture Moves Texas Cop
McKinley Zoellner, 16, offered to watch officer's back as she pumped gas
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 8, 2015 7:56 AM CDT
Houston officer Tommi Kelley snaps a selfie with McKinley Zoellner, 16.   (Facebook)

(Newser) – Given the recent shooting death of police officer Darren Goforth at a Texas gas station, Deputy Tommi Kelley had reason to be uneasy when a teen approached her as she filled up her patrol car in Houston early Thursday. "He walked up behind me" in the rain, Kelley says, per USA Today and ABC13. "It was kind of creepy at first." But then 16-year-old McKinley Zoellner did something unexpected: He asked if he could watch the officer's back, Kelley says. "I wanted to do something nice for someone and show them that someone cares," says McKinley, who made his mom pull into the gas station specifically because he wanted to help, per KPRC. "I ... just watched and made sure no one was coming, making sure nothing was going to happen to her."

When her tank was full, "he just said 'have a good day' and turned around and walked off," Kelley says. She followed, thanked the teen, and gave him a big hug before snapping a selfie with her new friend. The photo, posted to Facebook, has been shared more than 220,000 times as of this writing. "It meant a lot to me, especially with everything that's been going on lately," Kelley says. "To be nervous having to pump gas is sickening to me. So when you have someone that is so young and mature and thoughtful, and came up to help, I was very impressed with him." McKinley, who plans to join the US Air Force after high school, hopes he's encouraged others to keep officers safe. "It was just amazing to see her face," he says. (Very different circumstances led to this selfie with a cop.)