A police officer who spotted an 18-year-old walking alone in the dark on a busy road ended up doing something to make a difference in a young man’s life.
Just before midnight on a Saturday night, Cpl. Kirk Keffer of the Benicia Police Department in northern California was patrolling Industrial Way, a busy road lined with trucking companies and factories that is not exactly “pedestrian-friendly,” when he saw a teenage boy walking alone.
The officer stopped his car, got out and asked the boy if was ok? The teen, Jourdan Duncan, was nervous at first, he said. “I thought, okay, um, did I do anything wrong? Is he going to put me in cuffs? I didn’t do anything bad.”
Duncan told Keffer he had just gotten off work from his job at a local factory, and was walking back to his parents’ home in Vallejo, which was 7 miles away. When Keffer found that out, he offered the boy a ride home.
During the 15-minute drive, he found out Duncan had graduated from high school and got a job at Pro-Form Laboratories in May. He is saving money for college, and has a dream to be an officer with the California Highway Patrol. His car broke down in July, and for a while, he caught rides with friends and co-workers, but hated to burden others so decided to just walk.
The walk took him 2 hours and 15 minutes, but he never even told his parents he was walking – they thought he was still riding with friends.
Keffer told Duncan he was impressed with his work ethic, dedication and hard work. After he dropped him off at home and returned to the police department, he shared the story with his shift supervisor, saying, “He’s walking five hours a day, and I think it should be rewarded. What if we help him out?”
Both officers are on the board of the Benicia Police Officers’ Association. They emailed the other board members asking approval to buy the young man a bicycle, and within an hour, the deal was approved. The next day, Keffer went bike shopping and found a good mountain bike. The owner of the shop donated a helmet and lighting system.
Then, on Monday night, September 19, Keffer and a few other officers showed up at Pro-Form Laboratories. They had called Duncan’s boss in advance, who told him to go outside. There Duncan saw the cops waiting for him. Keffer told him, “We have something for you,” and pulled the bicycle out from behind a car.
“We would like to acknowledge your hard work and dedication for what you do and setting the example for kids your age,” Keffer said they told him. “Hopefully this’ll make your trip easier.”
Duncan was overwhelmed by the gift, and also by all the local news stations who suddenly wanted to interview him after they heard the story. “I was so nervous; I’ve never been on TV” — but couldn’t help but think: They want to interview me for walking? The walk isn’t hard. It’s like a challenge. To me, it was like a challenge to see if I was willing to do whatever it takes to get to work.”
Now, it only takes him an hour to get to work, and Keffer has offered to let him ride along sometimes so he can learn what it’s like to be a police officer, reported the Washington Post.
Duncan has other family members in law enforcement as well. He said, “Due to a lot of people thinking that there are bad cops out there, I want to prove that all cops aren’t bad — which is true, due to what just happened to me.”
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