Compassion lands Mississippi child on the right side of the law
Published 7:45 am Monday, May 8, 2023
After a pretty speedy investigation aided by social media, the Adams County Sheriff’s Office has rewarded a Natchez girl for her act of kindness at last weekend’s Wayne Rabb Memorial Rodeo.
On Thursday, members of the Adams County Sheriff’s Office’s Rodeo Committee presented Layla Lucas with a new bicycle.
ACSO Victims’ Advocate Karren Holland Ewing said at last Saturday’s rodeo, Layla and other girls were competing in a contest called the Calf Scramble, held each night of the rodeo, for a new bicycle.
“We do a girls’ session and a boys’ session each night of the rodeo. We ask all of the children to come into the arena,” she said. “We then turn loose a little calf with a ribbon tied to its tail. They all chase the calf until one of them is able to get the ribbon and that little girl or little boy wins the bike.
“They got out there and this little girl was close to grabbing the ribbon, but she fell down. The others kept going and Layla grabbed the ribbon and turned around and basically handed her new bike away,” Ewing said. “It caught us all off guard. We had never seen anything like that, a child with so much compassion. The more we thought about it, we started asking each other if we knew who this little girl was.”
Ewing turned to social media to ask that question, and Layla was quickly identified.
“We got to work and were talking about it and asked the sheriff, what can we do? He said, ‘We’ve got to do something for her.’ So, that’s what we did. I went to get the bike and called her mother and asked what time she could bring Layla to the Sheriff’s Office.’”
Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten said Layla’s act of kindness renewed his hope for the future.
“We promote the sheriff’s deputies’ rodeo each year as a family friendly event. It’s a place where parents can bring their kids and kind of let their hair down. They can relax, knowing it is one of the safest events you can attend in Adams County,” Patten said. “And we love to interact with the families and the kids.
“That particular event is one of our favorite parts of the rodeo because the kids get to be kids and do what kids should be doing. They get to not think about anything going on with the rest of the world and just be kids,” he said. “After she won that bike fair and square, and to see her turn around and give it up like that, it did so much good for us as officers to be reminded there are a lot of good kids in the community. It gave us hope for change in the direction we see America going.
“It was a humble and generous act toward another child. We thought it would be best that we give her a new bike. Her selflessness should be rewarded.”
Ewing said the new bike was quite a surprise for Layla, who is 12.
“We were all so touched by such a young girl having such a big heart that we wanted to give her a new bike, too,” Ewing said. “We pray Layla never loses her compassion for others.”
Layla’s mother, Glennese Smith, said she is very proud of Layla, but she was not surprised by her daughter’s act of kindness.
“She is always with me when we are doing things in the community. She watches how I treat others. When she came home on Saturday, she said, ‘I won a bike, but I gave it away.’ I asked her why she did that. She told me about the girl falling and said, ‘I already have a bike, so I decided to give it to her.’
“It was a proud moment for a proud mom. She makes me feel good many times, like I’m doing something right. She’s such a free spirit and is very lovable,” Smith said.
Layla is a sixth grader at Natchez Middle School, “and she is an honor student,” her mother said.