When Joseph Owusu, who is African-American, got a flat tire driving home from college exams, he didn’t think a passing state trooper would stop to help. But the white officer did more than just prove him wrong — his good deed has gone viral, thanks to some grateful attention from Joseph’s mom.
Dr. Nada Owusu‘s son is a student at Virginia Tech and found himself stranded on a dark, dangerous, and curvy road late one night, alone, and without a way to get home, his mom told WSET.
A state trooper came by, Matt Okes, and pulled over to offer assistance. “I was simply doing my job as any other Virginia state trooper would,” he said later. Okes tried to help Owusu change his tire, but had no luck. So they called AAA, but the company got lost on its way — for three hours.
The trooper stayed with the young man the whole time, a precaution his mom is very grateful for.
“It alerted any oncoming car he was there, so that was great. And then him staying with him, it was very comforting to me as a mother.”
His mom, a pediatrician, and AAA arrived at 1 a.m.
Even more comforting was the fact that the white state trooper never questioned why a young black man was driving an expensive car — a Mercedes — his mom noted. The officer then followed the Owusus until he was certain they were safe, according to the New York Daily News.
“What really impressed me is not just the fact that he tried to change the tire, which I didn’t even know police did. What touched me more was that he didn’t leave him on that road, where he could have been hit by another car.”
Owusu posted her thanks on Facebook, expecting only a handful of likes from family and friends, but has watched as the good deed has gone viral, and Oke’s simple act of kindness has been praised by strangers.
Including strangers in embattled Ferguson, Missouri, the mom noted, where police and protesters have clashed since a white officer shot an unarmed black teen last summer.
“Somebody in Ferguson told me it was uplifting and that they’re beginning to heal. That really touched me. This was a simple, worried mother’s post trying to thank one officer. This was accidental, but it’s bringing healing. I believe that people want to hope again — that they can still believe in our officers. The officers need the community to believe they are there for our own good.”
But the officer who has caused all this outpouring of emotion, if not a little dash of hope, doesn’t know what all the hubbub is about. After all, as a state trooper, helping others is just part of his job, he said in a statement.
“The attention the photo has generated on social media has been overwhelming and I certainly wasn’t expecting the photo to receive as much attention as it has … I appreciate the kind comments by Dr. Owusu and am glad Joseph and his parents were able to finally make it home safe. I am honored to be a member of the Virginia state police and am blessed by God to serve and protect.”
[Photo Courtesy Facebook]