Mom Pens Bittersweet Note to Cop Who Helped Her Son

Image Source: ABC News
Image Source: ABC News

Turn on the news or flip through a newspaper and you will likely find a story of a grieving mother mourning the loss of her unarmed son, his life taken by someone who should have been protecting him. From Ferguson to Baltimore and too many places in between, young black men losing their lives at the hands of overzealous white cops is a story that has become all too common lately.

In a nice break from the narrative, another white police officer and black boy are making headlines this week, but for no tragic reason. Dr. Nada Owusu, a pediatrician in Virginia, posted a photo on Facebook of her son alongside a police officer named Matt. Her son was driving home from school in the middle of the night when his tire blew out, which is when Matt pulled over to help him.

Owusu explained on Facebook:

Facebook friends, join [me] in expressing my gratitude to God and to Officer Okes, Matt a Virginia State Police officer. I took this picture at 2am in the middle of nowhere . My son had his back tire blown off his car last night on his way home from School. This kind officer approached him didn’t ask if the little Mercedes was stolen but rather got on his knees to replace his tire. When his effort failed he stayed with my son all night till we arrived at 1am with triple A. He provided all the needed protection especially from those tractor trailers till we were done by 2 am and till drove behind us for a while before exiting . Today I salute officer Okes! He is our hero and our “Good Samaritan.”

The picture shows Owusu’s son in a pink button-down shirt posing with Matt, both of them wearing easy smiles despite their long night. According to ABC News, Owusu wrote the post to, “give recognition to the trooper for keeping her son safe because ‘it was very comforting to me as a mother.” She never expected it to go as viral as it has.

While it’s heartwarming to hear her story — a small example of all the good law enforcement officials do everywhere, every day — to many mothers like myself, it’s still heartbreaking to think that this woman felt the need to thank a police officer for not racially profiling her son.

Offer thanks for helping a kid change his tire? Yes. Offer thanks for not asking him if the car is stolen? No.

It’s a reality that many moms of young black men face: at some point in their lives, they will be discriminated against based on their skin color. Still, knowing it doesn’t mean it’s any easier to let them leave the house each morning. It’s been said that having a baby is akin to watching a mother’s heart walk around outside of her body. But to watch it walk around and not know if it will come back because he might be mistaken for a criminal? No parent should need to worry about that.

Thank you notes expressing gratitude for doing the right thing is never wrong. But we, as a collective, need to work on doing right by each other — especially young black men — to change the narrative and make stories like this the rule, not the exception.

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