1. Headline
  1. Headline
Image: Police officer Charles Ziegler becomes a viral hero after helping mom in the rain
Ed Mcneal  /  City of Winston-Salem
Police officer Charles Ziegler becomes a viral hero after helping mom in the rain.
By TODAY contributor
updated 3/4/2013 5:28:04 PM ET 2013-03-04T22:28:04

North Carolina police officer Charles Ziegler was off duty last week, working at his side job doing security for a local church, when he noticed a mother pushing her child’s stroller in the rain and offered to give her a lift.

By 3 p.m. that afternoon, he was an Internet celebrity.

Ziegler found himself the center of attention when a photo of his kind act was posted to Twitter by Ed McNeal, the director of marketing and communications for the city of Winston-Salem. It was a cold and rainy day, and McNeal was impressed by the officer's thoughtful gesture.

He wasn’t the only one: Within a few hours of McNeal’s tweet, the story had gone viral. A local news station picked up the story, and interest exploded. Since then, Ziegler can’t believe how far his story has spread: he’s been getting phone calls, texts, and Facebook messages from friends and family since the picture went online last Tuesday.

  1. Stories from
    1. High School Students Plan Protest over Treatment of Alleged Rape Victims
    2. Autumn Reeser Divorcing Jesse Warren
    3. Inside Kaley Cuoco's Surprise Birthday Party - See the Gorgeous Photos!
    4. Quadruple Amputee Mom Grateful to Celebrate Thanksgiving with Her Family
    5. Odell Beckham Jr.'s Amazing One-Handed Catch: The Internet Reacts with Kim Kardashian, Dinosaurs and More

“My phone just blew up Wednesday night,” Ziegler told TODAY.com. “Last night, I got a text message from someone I go to church with and she said I made the news in England.”

While many have praised him for his good deed, he’s the last one to use the word “hero.” He says the moment he’s being praised for was just an average day, as he’s at the church many mornings while parents drop their kids off at the daycare.

“I am not trying to belittle anyone, but I think this story’s been made more than it actually is,” he said. “It’s me giving a lady and her child a ride. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal…Cops across the state and across the nation, they do stuff like this all the time.”

“I’m not surprised at all,” Ziegler’s patrol sergeant, John Coppley, told TODAY.com of the attention the act of kindness has received. “Charlie’s a good guy. [Police officers] do a lot of good stuff, and he helped bring it into the light.”

And what about the other protagonist in this story, the mother out with her child in the rain? Ziegler says he saw her the next morning at church, just the same as every other day.

“We haven’t talked about the story,” he says. “Just the normal ‘Hi, how you’re doing?’"

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

More on TODAY.com

  1. Courtesy of Holly Dubour

    These 14 bundled babes don't care if it's cold outside

    11/24/2014 8:30:40 PM +00:00 2014-11-24T20:30:40
  1. Save these sites and apps for the best Cyber Monday deals

    Looking for the best deals on Cyber Monday? Retailers keep most of their plans super secret but savvy shoppers can still plan ahead by lining up all their links and getting their bookmarks ready.

    11/24/2014 4:07:42 PM +00:00 2014-11-24T16:07:42
  1. Maya Evoy; We Are Not Martha

    5 ways to reinvent cranberries for Thanksgiving

    11/24/2014 8:00:35 PM +00:00 2014-11-24T20:00:35
  1. Courtesy of Kristine Wach VanOrd

    22 photos that show the joy of adoption

    11/24/2014 1:30:35 PM +00:00 2014-11-24T13:30:35
  1. Rachel Currier; Rachel Gurk; Nic

    You won't believe these delicious Thanksgving sides are gluten-free

    11/24/2014 4:59:22 PM +00:00 2014-11-24T16:59:22
  1. TODAY; AP

    Ex-NBC employee says he sent money to women for Bill Cosby

    11/24/2014 2:38:06 PM +00:00 2014-11-24T14:38:06