Tupelo police officer Allen Gilbert got more than he bargained for Friday when he went to a local discount store on a routine shoplifting call.
He found a woman in labor in the parking lot of the business.
Gilbert was dispatched about 2:30 p.m. to the Wal-Mart Supercenter to pick up three teen-agers who had been accused of shoplifting. While there, he said he heard a lot of people screaming in the parking lot.
When he went outside to check on the commotion, Gilbert found Renesca Foster, 24, of Shannon going into labor.
"She said her baby was coming," Gilbert said.
Gilbert put his suspects in his patrol car and pulled it alongside Foster's 1990 Plymouth Sundance so he could keep an eye on them while trying to provide assistance to Foster.
McDonald's worker Yolanda Richardson was also on the scene to offer her help.
Foster said she did not think a trip to Wal-Mart for some grocery shopping would be too much for her since she thought she had six more weeks before the baby was due.
Foster left the checkout line after realizing she needed to go to her car to get more money. She got to her car but never made it back to the store.
Gilbert was on one side of Foster and Richardson was on the other.
"They helped me with my breathing patterns and they kept me calm," Foster said.
Both Gilbert and Richardson stayed with Foster until firefighters and paramedics arrived about 5 minutes later.
"It seemed like 15," Foster said.
Once on the scene, medical personnel helped Foster deliver her daughter. The child and the mother were then placed in an ambulance and taken to the North Mississippi Medical Center's Women's Hospital, where both are doing well.
"I appreciate what all of them did for me," Foster said.
Cynthia M. Jeffries