Another day another dollar, right? Well, for this woman, another day was another 12 miles of walking to get that “dollar.” While many Americans get to work by car, bus, or train, this woman walked 6 miles to work and then the same 6 miles to get home. That’s 12 miles every. Single. Day. Walking 6 miles in the morning sounds tough, but at least you’re fresh after (helpfully) a good night’s sleep. But 6 miles after a long day at work? Mmmhmm.
For Jaylesya Corbett, one particular day in Nashville in August 2018 was like any other day. It was a regular working day in which she needed to get to work on time. But one person popped up out of nowhere and changed a normal day into one of the best days.
Looking for a feel-good story? A reminder that there are good people in this world? This is the one to read. It’s stories like these that restore our faith in humanity (at least for people like me, who tend to get distracted by all the negativity we see and hear every day).
Minding Her Own Business
Jaylesya was walking on the sidewalk and minding her own business when she noticed through her peripheral vision that a car slowly was approaching her. She tried to ignore it and kept on walking; her eyes fixed on the view in front of her. But this car was persistent, and it seemed like whoever was driving had his or her eyes set on her.
The car was creeping closer to the curb. Meanwhile, Jaylesya is silently praying that nothing “funny” was going to happen to her. She just hoped that her worst fears weren’t going to actualize right there, on her long and arduous walk to work. And that’s when she took a quick glance at the blue and red lights.
He Was On His Way to Work, Too
At that point, Jaylesya understood that the car following her was a cop car. And that wasn’t any more comforting to her. ‘Not today,’ she said to herself and kept on praying that everything would be okay. But the cop honked his horn. The cop in the car was Sgt. Scott Bass.
Bass was driving in his cruiser that day as he was on his way to the Nash County Sheriff’s Office to report for duty. Incidentally, Sgt. Bass was also on his way to work. He was coming close to the Stone Gate Mobile Home Community when he saw a familiar figure. For days now, Sgt. Bass had been hoping to see this woman. Why? Because he felt like he had some unfinished business with her.
An Unpleasant Morning
Now that Bass saw the woman he was looking for, he wasn’t going to waste the opportunity. That woman was, as you can probably guess, Jaylesya Corbett. When Bass saw her, she was on her way to work, which was the popular fast food joint Bojangles. As I mentioned before, the walk was long, but it was tolerable since she was used to it by then.
However, that day was particularly unpleasant. The sudden bursts of rain made her usual routine a lot more difficult. She had her umbrella that she took from home, but when she tried to open it, the strong winds took it right out of her hand. Nevertheless, she persisted on with her journey to work.
The Last Thing She Wanted
Jaylesya was nowhere near her work and was soaking wet from the downpour. Yet, like the trooper she is, she stayed alert and tried to avoid all the growing puddles on the sidewalk. It had already been enough of a struggle to get to work that day, and having an incident with a police officer was the last thing on her mind, not to mention the last thing she wanted.
For Jaylesya, walking to work on a sunny day was hard enough. But with all this wind and rain, she felt like she was being caught in the middle of a category-5 hurricane. But she knew she could handle it and get safely to Bojangles, but not necessarily if there was a cop on her tail.
12 Miles Roundtrip
Jaylesya did everything she could to make her daily walk to work an easy one, at least with what she could afford. For instance, she bought herself a comfortable pair of sneakers. But, she knew her shoes couldn’t save her from the rain. Her feet were wet, and she already felt blisters forming on her heels and toes from her wet socks.
Every day, she walks to and from Bojangles, and so this was definitely not her first time walking for so long, but her aching feet were shouting for mercy. The journey covers a total of 12 miles roundtrip. It may sound crazy, but for this woman, this daily burden meant she would be able to provide for her family.
Why on This Day of All Days?
Jaylesya felt strongly that nobody, not even a cop, would stop her from her doing her duty of getting to work and providing for her family. She was willing to do anything for her children, and the thought of not letting them down was what gave her strength every step of the way.
But when the cop showed up and stopped her, it made her rethink everything. She walked on that highway every single day, risking her life over and over again. She thought to herself, ‘What am I doing wrong?’ Maybe she was becoming a hassle to the motorists? What could possibly be the reason why she was being stopped now? And why on this day of all days?
She Couldn’t Ignore Him
Jaylesya knew that she couldn’t just pretend to ignore the cop car forever as it wasn’t working anymore. The driver was still honking at her. Instead of worrying about what she was doing wrong, she finally decided to stop in her tracks and just wait for the cop to approach her. She basically held her breath…
When the driver pulled up beside her, he lowered the window, and she could almost hear her heart pounding inside of her. For Jaylesya, a cop always meant trouble. She was afraid of what he would say to her, or worse. Although this meant that she would now be running late, she had no choice but to turn and face him. There was no other option at this point.
He Saw Her Daily Struggle
According to Sgt. Bass, he was blown away by this woman’s effort to make it to her work every day so that she could provide for her family. While many women today do take more than their share of the work, to this cop, Jayleysa was different. She did more than the average person.
As a police officer, Bass knew that it wasn’t really his responsibility to give the woman a ride to work because it was raining. Nowhere in his police officer job description did it say, “You must give free rides to pedestrians.” However, he had seen this woman daily now for a while, and he couldn’t get the thought of her daily struggle out of his mind.
First, He Gave Her a Lift
Sgt. Bass knew he could personally do more for this hardworking mom. But what could he possibly give her? Sgt. Bass figured this was his opportunity to help the woman. It was raining; she had to get to work, he had a car – so why not? He pulled up next to her and offered her a ride to Bojangles. She was reluctant but felt like it was indeed a good idea and would help her.
Although Sgt. Bass was just being kind and offering her a lift to work, Jayleysa couldn’t help but feel nervous when the cop, before dropping her off, asked her to meet up with him. She had the slightest idea why he wanted to see her. But she agreed.
Then He Gave Her a Gift
Jaylesya was asked to come to the Sheriff’s Office after work. Although she had no idea what this was all about, she was feeling confident that the man meant no harm. When she arrived at the station, Sgt. Bass saw her and went to his car immediately. He reached in and hauled out something big.
What he pulled out of his vehicle was a new Schwinn Fairhaven Women’s Cruiser bicycle. Before she even had a chance to react, Bass told her that it was a gift for her. I think you can imagine the shock she was experiencing. A cop giving a civilian a gift? And of all things, a bicycle? She was speechless. She didn’t understand what was going on.
And She Thought She Was Going to Jail
One day, she’s heading to work, and the next day she’s getting a bicycle as a present from a police officer. All the while, she had a fear that she would find herself in jail. But when this super nice cop presented the gift to her, she instantly felt ashamed for having thought the worst. Sadly, for Jaylesya, kindness from adults was so rare that she could equate it with finding a four-leaf clover.
Standing there, looking at this brand new bike, Jayleysa didn’t know what to say to the man. In an instant, she knew that her life was going to change. This cop’s simple act of kindness really made her believe in humanity once more and change the way she thought about strangers.
One of the Most Admirable People
In Sgt. Bass’ mind, Jayleysa, is one of the most admirable individuals he’s ever met in his life. For the sake of her kids, she didn’t mind getting blisters on her feet from walking a total of 12 miles each and every day. And on top of that, she was required her to stand on her feet all day!
Today, even those who can afford to own their own cars or those who can pay for public transportation still opt to use bikes for a healthier lifestyle. For Jayleysa, the bike would all the difference in her life. This way, her legs, and feet wouldn’t have to do all the work anymore. With a bike, her daily commute would be easier.
She Deserved the Gift
Although it was awkward for Jayleysa to take something like this from a police officer who was a stranger to her, Sgt. Bass made sure that she didn’t feel as though he was doing this for the sake of charity. He made her feel that she really did deserve the gift. Hearing him out, it warmed Jaylesya’s heart, knowing that someone who she didn’t even know recognized her and appreciated her hard work.
The meeting between Sgt. Bass and Jaylesya was filmed by other cops from Nash County Sheriff’s Office who were there to watch it all unfold. The video was posted on Youtube by CBS17. And within a matter of hours alone, the video was starting to go viral.
It Went Viral
The video of Bass giving Jaylesya her new bike got more than 6,000 views after a few hours of being on the internet. Judging by all the comments and likes, it was clear that the community was amazed by this really sweet and life-changing moment. The Nash County Sheriff’s Office also felt proud of their member’s act of generosity.
The men and women of the station were really impressed by Jaylesya’s story, a woman they never met nor heard about until that very day. They agreed that she totally deserved what Sgt. Bass chose to give her. The other officers added a written post to the video that went viral, recognizing Sgt. Bass’s affinity for lending a helping hand to those in need.
To Serve and Inspire
There’s no denying that with all the unfortunate incidents that occur between people and cops, many people just don’t trust the police force anymore. But just like all other professions, there are going to be bad apples in the bunch. And a few bad apples shouldn’t tarnish the entire group. In this case, there are good cops out there, and Sgt. Bass is just one example.
Sgt. Bass has been an inspiration to the other cops who happened to see the video. His act of kindness shows us that it doesn’t really matter how big or how little it is. And as cheesy as it is, it’s the thought that counts in the end! He went out of his way for someone he felt deserved something special.
Getting Calls for Interviews
After the video went viral online, people from the media were looking for Jayleysa Corbett, who gladly agreed to speak in interviews. When she was asked about what she felt at that moment, she said that she was shocked, and it all felt like something out of a dream. Like it wasn’t real.
Jaylesya found out that Sgt. Bass noticing her on her walk to work every day, and she said she wasn’t aware of that at all. She explained how, on her way to work, all she thought about was getting there on time. Little did she know that a cop was keeping an eye on her, and more than that, he was even admiring what she was doing!
In His Own Words
In Bass’s own words: “I wanted to help Jaylesya because she walks six miles to work every day regardless of the temperature, rain or shine, stands on her feet during her entire shift, and walks six miles under the same conditions back to her home and that is truly admirable. I’ve had the opportunity to get to know her and wanted somehow to lessen her burden of that 12-mile walk,” he said in an interview.
“I was truly humbled by Sergeant Bass’ efforts when he asked if it was ok to help Jaylesya and to see the happiness and joy he brought to her by his actions,” is what Nash County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Brandon Medina said. “Great job, Sergeant Bass!”
Cops Don’t Just Serve and Protect
Considering how heart-warming this story was, I want to keep this Good Samaritan train on its tracks and give you some more of where this came from. There are actually many stories about cops who go above and beyond what their job requires of them and help those who they feel are in need. They don’t just serve and protect; they help people.
For instance, one cop helped a homeless woman in need. The woman was sitting outside in the cold, holding up a sign saying she needed shoes. The San Francisco police officer named Jackie Selinger took the woman to a store in Union Square and bought her a pair of all-weather boots for $69 with her own money. A passerby saw this and took the photo you see above.
On His Last Day, Cop Gives Out Gift Cards Instead of Tickets
As he walked along the streets of his 14-year patrol route for the last time, Commander Brian Peters, who was about to retire as Minnesota policeman, did something special. He sought out citizens who could use the extra money for groceries or school supplies and gave them gift cards. The people he stopped were apprehensive at first, but appreciative when he gave handed them $50 gift cards to Target and Cub Foods.
Shaundra Lindsay spoke to KARE-TV about her being one of the few that got one of these gift cards. She said she was nervous when Officer Peters approached her and her three kids at a metro transit stop. “I got a little scared, but he came to me with some good news. I didn’t know what he was coming over here to me for. It was a surprise. He blessed us, and I am really happy about that.”
Peters said how “The citizens and city have been wonderful to me. I am very blessed, so it feels good to give back.”
Cops Pay the Bill of Diners Who Shunned Them
“We just want to better the relationship between the community and the police,” is what they had to say at the end of one evening in Homestead, Pennsylvania. A group of cops had the perfect response when a couple refused to sit by them at Eat N’ Park. So what did they do? They paid the couple’s bill and even added a hefty tip.
“Essentially, the whole goal of it was to let him know that we’re not here to hurt you,” Officer Chuck Thomas said. “We’re here for you. We work for the public. And we just want to better the relationship between the community and the police.”
Thomas wrote a note to the couple, saying, “Sir, your check was paid for by the police officers you didn’t want to sit next to. Thank you for your support.” He shared it on Facebook.
Officers Mowed the Lawn for a Man in a Wheelchair
Here’s another heartwarming little story about a cop who did more than anyone would have asked for. When Officer Joe Hutson spotted a man in his wheelchair trying to mow his own lawn, he and his partner, Officer John Khillah, felt that they need to stop the car and do something about it.
They decided to get out and take over his job. Officer Khillah went to the Kalamazoo Public Safety station to pick up a mower, weed trimmer, and leaf blower. The two officers then got to work and helped the Michigan man achieve his chore of cutting the grass. Locals stopped to see the act of kindness as well as the end result, which was apparently flawless.
A Milwaukee Officer Bought Car Seats for a Mom
Instead of giving this mother a ticket, he bought her car seats instead. Officer Kevin Zimmermann pulled over Andrella “Lashae” Jackson in October 2019 for a registration issue, but he noticed that her young daughters weren’t sitting in car seats. He walked up to her car and saw two young girls standing up and waving at him.
He asked the mother why the girls didn’t have car seats, and she simply said that she couldn’t afford them. She didn’t have the money as she needed to buy them winter coats and boots.
Natural, a cop would give her a ticket for driving with children in the car without car seats. But instead, Zimmermann bought her two car seats, and even installed them!
He Went to Walmart
While Zimmerman was with Jackson at the traffic light, his dispatch called him to a nearby Walmart for another situation. He took Jackson’s phone number, went to Walmart to find the reported incident, resolved it, and then headed to the car seat section. But he had to call Jackson first.
He had to ask her how much the girls weighed to get the correct seats. He was surprised when she answered the phone. “‘I want to do something for you and your kids, but I need your kids’ weights,'” he told her. Andrella must have been weirded out by what he was saying to her, but nonetheless, she told him their weights. And the cop was able to get the seats.
He Had No Idea It Would Go Viral
Zimmermann spent $75 on the car seats, then went to the station to pick up stickers and children’s books for her daughters. When he arrived at Jackson’s house with the gifts, she was beyond shocked and appreciative, he said. He showed Andrella how to buckle the girls safely. They all posed for a picture, and then Officer Zimmerman went on his way.
He had no idea that the story would go viral, he said in an interview. He said how his parents taught him “to always do the right thing when no one’s looking. That’s kind of always been my philosophy,” said Zimmermann. “I don’t care about the PR.” He told the interviewer that officers in his district buy food and toys for kids all the time, but never got the praise he’s gotten.
They Couldn’t Stop Thanking Him
Jackson and her daughters were very thankful for the police offer’s help. In a Facebook post that Andrella shared, which quickly got more than 1,000 likes, she wrote: “My girls couldn’t stop thanking him, and it made them smile. … We appreciate it a lot.”
Zimmermann has kids of his own, and he said in an interview that he personally had seen bad crashes with children involved. He wanted Jackson’s daughters to be safe.
“It’s always in the back of my head what those scenes look like,” Zimmerman said. “I really wanted to help her out.” The officer said that he’s been wanting to do something like this for a while, and on that day, “all the stars aligned,” and he did what he knew he needed to do.
His Car Broke Down, and Then This Happened…
In July 2018, Walter Carr, a college student, had been sending his friends a bunch of pleading text messages. His car had just broken down 20 miles from his apartment near Birmingham, Alabama. He was supposed to start his new job as a mover the next morning. He wasn’t about to miss the first day of his new job at a moving company called Bellhops.
Carr, aged 20, needed the work badly. No one showed up to give him a ride, so he sucked it up and decided that he’s going to have to walk. By 2 a.m., he passed the city of Hoover. Then at 4 a.m., he reached Pelham. He had way more to go to get to his workplace.
And then the Cops Came
As he was about to enter the highway ramp, which was the most direct route to the job, he had to sit down in a bank parking lot to rest. “I decided I’d rest for a minute because my legs were killing me,” he said later in an interview. And that’s when a police car pulled up to him.
The police officer was later identified by the news site AL.com as Mark Knighten. He asked Carr if everything was okay. Carr said yes and explained to him what he was doing there. “I said, ‘This is crazy, but I’m actually heading to work. It’s my first day in the job,’ ” Carr remembered saying to Officer Knighten. But Knighten asked him another question…
He Needed to Eat
The officer then asked Carr when he last ate, and the young man told him about the bologna and eggs he had many hours earlier. So what Knighten did was offer to take him to get some food into his stomach. “I said, ‘I just paid my rent. I have no cash on me at all,’ ” Carr explained.
Knighten told Carr to get in the car; that the meal was on him. So the young man and the police officer went to Whataburger with some other police officers, and Carr ordered a chicken biscuit. The officers urged him to eat more, so he even ordered another one. Once they finished eating, it was about time for Carr to start work.
A Safe Place to Be
Officer Knighten drove Carr the few miles in the direction of his moving company job. He dropped him off at a church, saying it was a safe place to be. Knighten had to end his shift, but he said that another officer would be around in a few hours to check on Carr, and maybe give him a ride to work.
But by the time Carr got to the church, he was worried he wouldn’t make it on time, so at about 5:30 a.m., he started walking again. He was walking on a two-lane road, and another police officer came up and told him that he heard about him. That officer was Scott Duffey, and he drove Carr the last four miles to his job.
He Called to Thank Him
Later that week, on Sunday, Carr’s boss, Bellhops’ chief executive Luke Marklin, called Officer Duffey to thank him. Marklin said he wanted to meet the cop in person to show his appreciation for their service. They agreed to meet on Monday at a coffee shop near Carr’s apartment. And of course, Carr walked the 20 minutes to get there and join them.
When the three men met at the coffee shop, Marklin (who must clearly love his new employee) gave Carr his own car! He gave him his 2014 Ford Escape. He said that the car would be in better hands with Carr than with him. It looks like the cops and Carr’s boss were the heroes of this story!
Officers Who Go Beyond the Call of Duty
Officer Jesse Hartnett was midway through his 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. shift in West Philadelphia, which is one of the toughest areas in the country’s fourth-largest police department. He was in his patrol car before midnight on January 7, 2016, when a man in a long white sweater aimed at him with a 9 mm Glock pistol and fired more than 11 shots at the officer.
Three of those bullets shattered Hartnett’s left arm, which ended up causing severe nerve damage. But at the moment, he managed to return fire and wound the shooter, who was later arrested. While Hartnett was recovering from several surgeries, has was receiving praise for all his generosity and courage over the years of being a cop.
A Dangerous Job
According to his colleagues, Officer Hartnett would often buy coffee and sandwiches for homeless people on the streets. He would also stop to say hi and make small talk with people on the streets he patrolled. “This is a dangerous job,” police Commissioner Richard Ross stated. “This incident captures the essence of that. … You never know what that next encounter will be.”
“He was a compassionate police officer,” Ross said about Officer Hartnett. His heroism came at a time when a trend of controversial police encounters was leading led to protests and public distrust. More and more stories were being reported about cops unnecessarily shooting people, harming offenders, and officers were also getting fired left, right, and center for these acts.
Random Acts of Kindness
Still, many random acts of kindness and the occasional heroism of more than 900,000 officers in the United States went and still go unnoticed. To report positive cop stories, CNN started featuring stories of heroism by police officers in their new series called “Beyond the Call of Duty,” which aired on Fridays on “New Day” and “CNN Newsroom.”
“Truly heroic work does, I hope, get the recognition it deserves: the officer who runs into a burning building to save someone, the officer who risks his or her life to save that of a civilian in a hostage situation,” David Harris, a University of Pittsburgh School of Law professor and an expert on policing, said on one of these reports.
Beyond the Call of Duty
“But the work of police officers is full of other types of good work every day: helping the good people in neighborhoods with the problems they have. Helping us all, in small ways, to have a safe and prosperous place to live. That’s the everyday work that doesn’t get a lot of recognition because it’s not unusual,” Harris said in his interview.
Police work, which is both heroic and prosaic, occurs daily across the country. Take the case of James Roberts, aged 58, for example, who got lost on his way to a job interview in New York. Roberts asked a cop for directions. “‘You’ll never make it,'” the officer told him. “‘Get in the car.'” He took Roberts to the place of his interview. The officer then said, “Good luck, and God bless you.”
Roberts, who ended up getting the job after struggling for years to land one, was looking for the officer to thank him, but he never was able to find him.
Helping a Woman in Labor and a Homeless Man
In another example of going beyond their duty, NYPD officers helped a woman in labor along FDR Drive during morning rush hour. Detective Michael Sharpe was going to traffic court when he got a call saying a woman was in labor “right now.” Sharpe spotted the car on the side of the road and literally helped the woman bring her baby boy into the world.
In Minnesota, when temperatures reached subfreezing levels, State Trooper Glen Bihler went ahead and bought dinner for a homeless man who he found lying on the shoulder of a highway near Aitkin. There wasn’t a room available at the local shelter, so the trooper arranged for the homeless man to spend the night in the lobby of the sheriff’s department.
A Burning Home
In Nebraska, two officers and a civilian, with no protective gear whatsoever, rescued five people from a burning house in Omaha in 2015, CNN’s affiliate WOWT reported. After two of those who were inside were safely removed, one of the police officers went back in as he heard screams. He then rescued three disabled people.
Officer Robbie Goering-Jensen was later treated for smoke inhalation in a hospital. His partner, Officer Anthony Abboud, was also treated for smoke inhalation at the scene of the fire. It was Abboud’s first shift as a cop after graduating from the police academy days before.
William Terrill, an expert in policing at Arizona State University, said acts like these aren’t uncommon and are often overshadowed by the negative stories about police abuse and misconduct.
“Many, many times I see officers pull money out of their pocket and buy someone a coffee, buy someone a meal, take them inside and let them warm up,” Terrill described of their work. “I’ve seen officers let folks in the back of their car to warm up while they’re handling an incident. They see someone on the corner, and they say, ‘Why don’t you hang out in the car while I handle this incident.’ It had nothing to do with them. They’re just letting them warm up.”
Good policing is hard to measure by official records only. An important measure of good police work is the officer’s ability to defuse situations “with the least amount of authority or the least amount of force,” Terrill explained.
It’s Not About the Arrests
What’s happened is the public became accustomed to associating “good policing” with proactive police officers who take the most guns from criminals or make the most arrests. “Good policing or being a good cop means preventing disorder, heading off arrests, building relationships with people and communities so that problems can be addressed not just with physical courage or force or with barked orders, but with communication, cooperation, and strategy,” Harris said.
Take another story that played out in San Francisco, in which a homeless woman and her autistic teenage son were rejected from several shelters. A group of police officers found out and pooled together $400 for a hotel room as well as groceries for the family. “Who knows where they could’ve ended up,” Officer Brian Kneuker said. “But when we got the call, our goal was — we’re not going to have them end up on the street.”
Rapper Raises $64,000 for a Cop
Have you heard of the rapper The Game? Well, he personally wanted to give back to a certain police officer. An Arkansas police officer in North Rock got $64,000 from a GoFundMe campaign set up by rapper. The Game set up the donation to show his appreciation for Officer Tommy Norman’s efforts.
Norman had reached out to the local community to ease racial tensions by reaching out to and spending his time with underprivileged children from the city. Fellow rapper Killer Mike talked about Officer Norman’s efforts on CNN.
It’s stories like all these that should also get the focus of media attention. While negative reports are going to remain a common feature of news stories, it’s on us to also look at the positive ones.