Hillsborough traffic stop leads to act of kindness

By Laurie Davison, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, October 13, 2017, 9:03 AM EDT

A recent traffic stop in Hillsborough County didn't end with a ticket, but rather with an act of good will.

  • Traffic stop occurred on Oct. 10
  • Family had been evicted the week before
  • Deputy Rizer, other deputies contacted Target store to help

On the morning of Oct. 10, Deputy Donnie Rizer pulled over a mother and her children on their way to school for a minor traffic infraction.

The mother, Brittani Perez, couldn't help but assume the worst was about to happen.

"I thought it was the worst day ever," Perez said. "Me and my son had spent quite some time arguing in the morning, and when I got pulled over all I could think was 'Awesome, I just got pulled over and here's a $200 traffic ticket at least.'"

She told Deputy Rizer she and her family had been evicted about a week ago. Making matters worse, she has recently undergone surgery and can't work.

Her husband works at Home Depot, but he's having trouble making enough to pay the bills.

Her son, Bernardo, 10, was crying during the traffic stop. He explained that he didn't want to go to school because his uniform is torn and dirty, and other students tease him about it.

"I was upset because I didn't have a lot of clothes to go to school, and some kids at school mess with me about what I wear," Bernardo said.

"As soon as I walked up to the car and realized it wasn't a domestic issue, that it was just a mom and a son who was sad, I just went into "Dad mode" I call it, " said Rizer.

The deputy took the mother's contact information and promised to call her soon.

He and other deputies got in touch with a Target location in Carrollwood and arranged for Bernardo and his sister, Aryanna, 10, to get new school uniforms, shoes and backpacks. They also bought the family a full tank of gas, and had lunch with Bernardo at school.

"It shows that there's people that actually do care about one another, and people who genuinely want to see people do better, " said Perez.

"I just wanted to look past that traffic stop for this family, and I think it's turning out pretty well for them," said Rizer.

When asked about how he feels about his new clothes, Bernardo Perez said he now considers the deputy a "friend," and he said "thank you."