Arizona Police Officer Gives Bike to Teen Who Walks 9 Miles to Work
For one man in Arizona, getting pulled over by a police officer might have been the best thing to ever happen to him.
Phoenix Police Sgt. Natalie Simonick, 46, was on patrol around 11 p.m., when she saw a young man walking alone in a dark and desolate area who she thought might be violating curfew.
"And I pulled over and I asked him what he was doing," Simonick told ABCNews.com. "He said, 'Walking home, I missed the bus.'"
After the young man, Christian Felix, showed Simonick his ID proving he was 18 years old, the sergeant offered Felix a courtesy ride home. Then Simonick learned Felix had never ridden a bike before.
"He never had a father in his life, so he had no one to teach him," Simonick said.
By the end of the ride home Simonick was shocked. It turned out Felix would walk the 9 mile distance to his home from his job at McDonald's if he missed his bus.
Simonick was impressed by the young man. "He doesn't drink and doesn't smoke," she said. "He had never had any contact with police as far as negative contact."
After that night, Simonick spoke to her husband, who said she could give Felix their extra bike. The other members of her squad agreed to help teach Felix how to ride a bike.
"It's really something when someone comes up on the street and offers to do a kindness for you," Felix told ABC affiliate KNXV. "These days you don't see anything like that."
Last month, Felix had his first bike lesson at the Phoenix police precinct parking lot.
"Two of my officers stood on either side of him and pushed him," Simonick said. "He was a little wobbly and rode into one of the poles, but my guys were right there to catch him."
After 45 minutes, Felix was riding on his own, and he and Simonick rode together around the lot.
Since then, the two have kept in touch, and Simonick said she wants to continue to help Felix. So what's Simonick's next project?
"Well he did say that he's never driven a car before," Simonick joked. "First things first I'll see how he does with the bicycle."
As for the attention, Simonick said she just wanted to show Felix that there are people out there who care.
"If everybody could help just one person in the world like this, I think it would definitely be a better place to live."