Photo of Halifax cop chatting with busker gets much love on social media | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Photo of Halifax cop chatting with busker gets much love on social media

Community officer Const. Shawn Currie, right, sits down for a chat with a panhandler on the sidewalk in Halifax in this May 26, 2016, handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Bruno Baurin *MANDATORY CREDIT*
May 29, 2016 - 1:41 PM

HALIFAX - Social media users in Halifax are swooning over a candid photo of a police officer and a busker, calling it "inspirational," "the heart of humanity" and a source of Maritime pride.

The photo shows a uniformed officer reclining casually on the sidewalk, his outstretched legs crossed at the ankles, having a quiet chat with the street performer on Spring Garden Road.

The post has received over 1,000 reactions on Facebook and has been shared and retweeted hundreds of times - a surprising response to what community officer Const. Shawn Currie says was just another day on the job.

"It's a little overwhelming that it happens for something that's just everyday," Currie said in an interview Friday. "A big part of my job is to get to know everybody ... their lives, their families, and get to know their good days and bad days."

Federal worker Bruno Baurin says he was so moved by the scene as he strolled past on Thursday that he stopped in his tracks and turned around to snap a photo.

"Here's a great image of two people from two different worlds ... that took the time to share something in common," Baurin said in an interview Friday.

Baurin posted the photo to social media, where users responded with enthusiastic approval for the street-level policing.

"Every once in a while you see an act of compassion which overwhelms you," Facebook user Jo-Anne Himmelman wrote. "This photo shows how just two people can disprove the negativity in the world today. Just think how much better the world would be if we could all communicate this way."

"Compassion, empathy and understanding," Nicole Pettipas wrote. "As essential to good policing as kevlar and weapons."

Currie says he's known the busker seen in the photo for nine years. The violinist is a fixture of Spring Garden Road, delighting pedestrians with the classics in exchange for spare coins almost every day.

"He's the type of player that he won't bring out a new piece until he's practiced it and perfected it," Currie said. "He doesn't want to practice out on the street, he wants to perform."

Currie says when he came upon the man on Thursday, he was doing yoga to prepare for his performance. Rather than interrupt his artistic process, the office sat on the sidewalk and for a half-hour long conversation.

"We were just talking about what's going on in his life. And we got talking about what I've been going through," Currie said. "Just general conversation."

The outpouring of online appreciation for the photo took Currie by surprise, but the officer is no stranger to social media celebrity.

Last year, Currie was the subject of another viral photo when he wrote up a fake ticket for a three-year-old boy who was "illegally stopped" on his plastic motorcycle.

"I want people just to realize how approachable police are. How human we are," Currie said. "I think it makes me more compassionate, more understanding. And it makes me able to deal with the bad situations and get through it with the help of others and while helping others."

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version identified the man the police officer was speaking to as a panhandler in some references.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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