Jonesboro police officer John Shipman noticed an unusual sight after he left his off-duty security job early one morning.
“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.”
This was a typical day for Arkansas State University student James Taylor, who routinely makes the four mile walk from his job to his apartment that is closer to campus.
“I was walking home and it was snowing outside,” Taylor said. “Probably about a mile into the walk, Officer Shipman came up to me.”
“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.
Then Shipman did what any other officer in his shoes would do, he gave Taylor a ride home. During the drive to Taylor’s apartment, Shipman learned the pre-pharmacy sophomore doesn’t have a car and walks to walk and school, no matter the weather conditions.
“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.”
Moved by the chance meeting they just had, Shipman decided to take Taylor’s story to social media. He was in for a surprise shortly after.
“And when I woke up the next morning, it had took off,” Shipman said.
Region 8 News reports that many individuals were asking how they could help and eventually a GoFundMe account was set up to raise money to get James Taylor a car. The initial goal, which was set at $1,400, was surpassed in three days. By Monday over $2,300 had been raised through donations by people and business both online and in person.
“The community’s response to this has just humbled me,” Shipman said.
The two men were amazed at each other’s actions.
“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.
According to Shipman, they’ve already found a car for Taylor who now has enough money for a car and at least six months of insurance too. The next task at hand will be for Taylor to get his license, who figured he didn’t need one because he didn’t have money for a car.