State Trooper Matt Okes helped 20-year-old Joseph Owusu when he got a flat tire in the middle of the night. Owusu’s mother’s thank you note has gone viral. (Photo: Nada Owusu/Facebook)
A mother’s photo and thank you note to a State Trooper who helped out her son after he got a flat tire is spreading like wildfire online.
Joseph Owusu, 20, was driving home from Virginia Tech, where he is a student, last week when one of his back tires blew out. Virginia state trooper Matt Okes helped the stranded student, making sure other drivers saw his vehicle on the dark and highly trafficked road, and waiting with the student until his parents showed up and AAA fixed his car.
Touched by the trooper’s kindness, Joseph’s mother, Dr. Nada Owusu, posted a photo of the two men, with a note of gratitude, to her Facebook page on Friday. “Facebook friends, join [me] in expressing my gratitude to God and to Officer [Matt] Okes…a Virginia State Police officer,” she wrote. “I took this picture at 2 am 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 1 am with Triple A. He provided all the needed protection especially from those tractor trailers till we were done by 2 am and drove behind us for a while before exiting. Today I salute Officer Okes! He is our hero and our Good Samaritan.”
In a time where many police are under scrutiny for their mistreatment of young black men, Owusu’s post has struck a chord on social media. The post has been shared more than 22,000 times, and received hundreds of likes and comments, including one from TV personality Montel Williams. “Dr. Owusu, Grateful that your son is ok, and also grateful that you shared Trooper Okes’ act of heroic kindness with the world,” Williams wrote. “Too often we look at very specific instances where police miss the mark, and it’s equally if not more important to recognize the countless Trooper Okes’ of the world who quietly serve with distinction and embody EVERYTHING we want our Police to be. Trooper Okes, thank you for your service.”
In a statement provided to Yahoo Parenting, Trooper Okes said: “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 was simply doing my job as any other Virginia state trooper would. 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.”
Dr. Owusu did not respond to Yahoo Parenting’s request for comment.
Owusu told the local news that she felt compelled to publicly thank Okes. “Even before we left home, I kept telling my son I need to thank the officer,” she told WTVR. “There’s a lot of good in this world and people want to hear positive stories. As far as I was concerned, there was a good person waiting with my son. I didn’t care if he was green, blue, yellow. There’s a lot of good in America and that needs to be heard. Police need our support.”
Via Rachel Bertsche @YahooParenting