JPD cop's Facebook post changes one young man's life

Published: Feb. 24, 2015 at 4:30 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 24, 2015 at 10:17 AM CST
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JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - For dedicated police officers, "Protect and Serve" doesn't only mean stopping the bad guys. Sometimes, it means helping the good guys.

Over the weekend, one Jonesboro cop did just that.

Officer John Shipman with the Jonesboro Police Department had just left an off-duty security job when he noticed something unusual.

"I was going down Stadium Boulevard when I saw someone walking on the shoulder of the road," Shipman said. "It was 2:15 in the morning, I looked down and it was 19 degrees."

Unbeknownst to Shipman, what seemed unusual to him was routine for Arkansas State University student James Taylor.

"I was walking home and it was snowing outside," Taylor said.

Taylor was making his normal four mile trek from his job to his apartment near the college.

"Probably about a mile into the walk, Officer Shipman came up to me," Taylor said.

"And I asked him his name and where he was coming from and he told me he had just got off work at McDonald's," Shipman said.

"So he gave me a ride," Taylor said.

Officer Shipman learned the pre-pharmacy sophomore at ASU doesn't have a car and walks, rain or shine, to and from work and school.

"I asked him, 'So you went to work tonight knowing that you didn't have a ride home and that it was going to be freezing?' and he said 'Yes sir.'" Shipman said. "He says I have to, I don't have any other choice."

Shipman, touched by their encounter, took Taylor's story to social media.

"And when i woke up the next morning, it had took off," Shipman said.

Many were interested how they could help. A

was set up to get James Taylor a car.

In just 3 days, the initial $1,400 goal was surpassed.

"The community's response to this has just humbled me," Shipman said.

People and businesses have donated online and in person. As of Monday night, over $2,300 had been raised.

Both men said they were simply amazed by the actions of the other.

"These kind of people, you don't meet every day," Taylor said. "Officer Shipman, he was an amazing guy."

"I think the community is going to change James' life forever but you know what, in the end? James may be changing our lives," Shipman said.

Shipman told Region 8 News that they've already found a car for James Taylor. The next obstacle is to get him a drivers license.

Taylor said since he didn't have money or a car, he didn't figure he needed a license.

Shipman said they not only have enough money for a car now but at least 6 months of insurance as well.

Some members of the community have also donated better winter clothing for Taylor. Officer Shipman was able to drop off roughly $200 in clothing to Taylor's apartment over the weekend.

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