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. Ryan Lewis: My Mom Has HIV
    2. See Katy Perry as an Elderly Burlesque Dancer and More in This 'Birthday' Teaser
    3. Bachelorette Contestant Eric Hill in a Coma After Paragliding Accident
    4. PHOTOS: Check Out the Winners of Our Easter Egg Decorating Challenge
    5. Watch: Snoopy, Garfield and Other Cartoon Characters Go Bald to Help Kids with Cancer Cope

“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

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

More on TODAY.com

  1. Lupita Nyong’o is People magazine’s Most Beautiful person

    The Oscar winner with the perfect smile and the style to match beams from a cover that promises "her inspiring story.

    4/23/2014 11:54:41 AM +00:00 2014-04-23T11:54:41
  2. video Actress tells Savannah: Oscar win has opened doors

    video After a tremendous year for the actress, including winning an Oscar for her breakout role in “12 years a Slave,” and now being selected as People magazine’s Most Beautiful person, Lupita Nyong’o reflects on her rising fame in an exclusive interview with TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie.

    4/23/2014 12:35:32 PM +00:00 2014-04-23T12:35:32
  3. slideshow Her flawless looks: See Lupita’s colorful wardrobe

    slideshow Bright yellow, sky blue, rich red, shimmering gold — there's not a color that the fashionably adventurous Oscar-winning actress hasn't conquered.

    4/23/2014 1:40:41 PM +00:00 2014-04-23T13:40:41
  4. Reuters; AP
  1. Pool / Getty Images

    Prince William, Duchess Kate try their hand at the DJ decks

    4/23/2014 4:30:48 PM +00:00 2014-04-23T16:30:48
  1. Anthony Harvey / Getty Images

    Andrew Garfield gets tangled in web of words during Q&A with Emma Stone

    4/23/2014 2:01:43 PM +00:00 2014-04-23T14:01:43
  1. Courtesy of Savannah Guthrie

    Savannah’s honeymoon dispatch: Letting it hang out on the best vacation ever

    4/23/2014 10:56:55 AM +00:00 2014-04-23T10:56:55