About two years ago during a 5K, I was coming up to an intersection and I noticed a very tall police officer swinging his arms to mimic my movement. I began to smile, almost laugh at him as he encouraged me to keep going. He told me, I was doing great and was almost there. As time went on, I would start each race excited to see him as I was getting closer to the finishline. I look forward to his encouragement, because it’s at a point during the race when I begin to crash. He has no idea how much his smile, encouragement, and kindness means to me at every race. There have been a few, that without him, I’m not sure I would’ve finished.
At the end of the Hero’s Run, I saw him and wanted a photo of us. The cookie was close so I asked him if he would take a photo with me. He was happy to pose with me. I realized when I looked at the picture, we were standing together by an Oreo cookie. We both started laughing. I love that this photo made us laugh and we both see each other as people. We are friends because he cared enough to speak to me and I adore this precious man.
I don’t know what all he faces in life but I know we have built a friendship with the simple foundation of kindness and equality. He sees me as a determined person and I see him as a caring encourager. I’m out walking a 5K almost every Saturday and he is at most of them. I now, seek him out before the run to give him a hug and check on him. There are other officers there that never speak to me but not Officer Mathews, he is always there with a smile.
If you ever have the privilege of meeting Officer Mathews, consider yourself blessed, he is one of a kind.