Officer Eric Gaines has seen people give food and money to the homeless, but has never witnessed something as powerful as he did while on duty March 1.
The University of Maryland, Baltimore, officer was patrolling his usual area when he noticed a guy getting close to a homeless man.
"I originally thought he was patting him down to steal something and so I was ready to jump into action, but once I saw him bow his head, I realized what was actually going on," Gaines, 35, told TODAY.com.
The boy, who appeared to be 15 or 16 years old, and his friends came across the homeless man while waiting for the bus. While his friends went straight to the bus stop, he got down on his knees and started praying for about five minutes.
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"I couldn't believe what was going on in front of me," Gaines said. "I've never seen something so powerful before."
When the bus arrived, his friends tried to get his attention, but he wasn't stopping until he got through the prayer. Luckily for him, the bus waited for him to finish for about 25 seconds.
"I wanted to tell him how moving that moment was for me, but he vanished before I had a chance to go over to him," Gaines said.
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Gaines isn't a very public person; until recently, he went by the alias of Jonathan Stormz on Facebook (the social network required that he use his real name). His profile is private, but he wanted people to see the photo he took of the boy, so he made that post public on March 1. It has since been shared more than 35,000 times.
"I feel blessed to have witnessed such a selfless action," Gaines said.