In an event that could have ended with a shooting if it had happened in another country, Thai police officer Anirut Malee instead restored faith in humanity and authority with his kindness.
The footage of the moment when a Thai police officer calmed a knife-wielding man before giving him a big hug is going viral internationally, with the world praising the officer for how he dealt with the would-be attacker.
In the June 17 footage, Anirut is seen talking to a 45-year-old man who brought a knife to the Huai Khwang police station. When Anirut learned that the man was more stressed than violent, the officer calmed him down to the point where the man agreed to hand over the knife.
Then Anirut did the most unexpected thing, he walked over to give the guy a big bear hug.
Anirut said the would-be attacker used to be a musician and then worked as a security guard but hadn’t been paid for doing the job.
Aside from not getting his wages, the man also had his guitar stolen. In distress and desperate, he went to the police station and pulled a knife.
“He said he was stressed out. I said to him, ‘I understand. Otherwise, you wouldn’t do this. We’re from the same region. If there’s anything I can do to help, please tell me, bro,” the officer told Thairath.
Anirut calmed the man down by talking to him in the Southern dialect they both grew up with and suggested they go out together for a meal. The officer also offered the man a guitar he owned.
“I said, ‘Okay, I have a guitar. I’ll give it to you, but you have to put down the knife first.’”
After a big hug, Anirut fetched the man a glass of water. At the end, the would-be attacker was sent to have a mental health check at Somdet Chaophraya Hospital.
Many commenters on Facebook compared how the Thai police dealt with the situation with how it might have been dealt with in the U.S., where a string of police shootings of often unarmed African-Americans has led to a national outcry and ongoing conversation on race.