Woman’s social media picture of uneaten meals shows sacrifice first responders make every day

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FLORENCE, Ala. - A local woman's social media post is getting a lot of attention, especially in northwest Alabama. Earlier this week, she snapped a picture of two empty chairs at a restaurant with plates of food sitting on the table.

The picture shows the lives of two emergency responders.

Brittany Davis says she did it to honor the men and women who run toward harm's way.  She took the picture at Golden Corral after two Lauderdale County deputies were called away to respond to a call of a shooting on Wednesday night.

Brittany Davis, left, with two of her friends

Brittany Davis, left, with two of her friends

"We noticed their radios started going off and it said there were shots fired. No sooner than the radio went off, they were up and out the door," said Davis.

Davis and her friends said this really made them think about the sacrifices first responders make, even the small ones.

"I think a lot of times we don't realize that they leave their kids birthday parties and they go without meals and they do a lot more than risk their lives," said Davis.

With all the negativity on social media at the moment, the friends say they wanted to post something positive and share a bit of gratitude.

A deputy's life

"You might be at a restaurant and you think this is it, you sit there, and then boom, you got to go," said Joe Shanes, a Lauderdale County Sheriff's Deputy.

Shanes has been in law enforcement for more than 24 years. He says it's a rare occasion when officers get to sit down and eat a meal while on the job. He wasn't one of the deputies who had to leave the restaurant Wednesday night, but said this happens to all emergency responders.

"Mostly the hardest part is when you miss birthdays," said Shanes. "It's hard to tell somebody you have to go and that's what you have to do."
But for the men and women in uniform, Shanes says it's in their blood.  They are public servants, and he thanks the people who take note of the sacrifices emergency responders make on a daily basis.
"There's a lot of people that really appreciate what you do and they just want to tell you," said Shanes.
Most of the time, deputies don't get the chance to go back and finish the meal.
Deputy Shanes says there have been times when he didn't have time to pay for a meal, and when he returned, someone else had already paid for it.
Brittany Davis said Golden Corral plans to give the two deputies a free meal next time they visit.
Our hats go off to all first responders and the sacrifices they make. Thank you, truly.