It was early one morning on what was already a cold and rainy day in Nash County, North Carolina, when the police officer spotted a young woman walking alone at the roadside. He decided to stop and find out if she was all right. But then he discovered what was actually happening, and this kind-hearted cop was troubled by her story.
Sergeant Scott Bass had been making his usual rounds in his patrol car that morning in 2017 when he spotted the lady at an intersection. The Nash County Deputy observed that she had on a Bojangles’ uniform. But as he was about to find out, this was no ordinary commuter.
Yes, it was just another day for Jaylesya Corbett. She was making her way from the mobile home community where she lives in Western Rocky Mount to her job at Bojangles’ in Nashville, with her shift due to begin at 5:00 a.m.
When Sgt. Nash pulled over that morning, he asked Corbett if she wanted a ride. She accepted because, as she later told ABC11, “It was raining really badly.” And this dedicated worker still had a pretty long way to go before she reached her destination.
Corbett’s commute was clearly no run-of-the-mill journey. It was six miles each way, in fact – and she walked the whole thing. A conscientious employee, she would make the journey in all types of weather, even when it snowed. The commute took a total of four hours, which amounted to a significant chunk of her day.
So when Corbett’s shift began at 5:00 a.m., it meant that she had to leave her home at 3:00 a.m. Sgt. Bass felt real sympathy for her, and over the next few months the police officer would regularly give Corbett a ride when he saw her. This way, she didn’t have to walk the whole six-mile journey.
But the kind deputy’s thoughtfulness didn’t end there. In a subsequent press release from the Nash County Sheriff’s Office, Chief Deputy Brandon Medina revealed, “He even went as far as communicating to other sheriff’s office employees to stop and help her out should they see her walking to and from her job.”
Sgt. Bass said he was impressed that Corbett made that tough journey in all weathers. He knew she would be on her feet throughout her working day, too, making her even more tired during her walk back.
In the news release from the sheriff’s office, Sgt. Bass said, as he got to know Corbett, he wanted to do something more to lessen the burden of her long walk to work. He told ABC11 that Corbett’s situation really weighed on his mind, and whenever he gave her a ride he would always go home and discuss her with his wife.
Eventually Sgt. Bass realized that to really make Corbett’s life easier, he should find her some transportation of her own. That’s when an idea came to him: perhaps if he could get her a bike, her 12-mile journey to work and back would be a lot quicker and easier. So Bass set about asking around for help.
He consequently contacted a Nashville Walmart, and the branch’s manager Iris Pearce was happy to assist. She even agreed to donate a brand-new bike – a Schwinn Fairhaven cruiser for women – to help Corbett out. The bike retails at approximately $150, so this was a generous gesture.
When Sgt. Bass went to hand over the bike to Corbett, though, she was initially concerned that she was in some sort of trouble. But after she realized what Sgt. Bass had done and what a difference his kind gesture would make, Corbett was delighted.
Corbett told ABC11 that she had been shocked by the good deed. “I didn’t think it was real,” she admitted. “It was like a fairytale.” She said the bike had helped her out a lot, especially as she no longer has to get up so early for her shifts. And Sgt. Bass stated that he hopes that his gesture will encourage people to help others in their communities.
Sgt. Bass added that if people see someone in their communities who’s facing a hard time, they should try to bring together other people to help them. “That’s really when it starts to make where you live a better place,” he said.
This isn’t the first time that an officer has stepped in to help a commuter with a tough journey to work, of course. For instance, in 2016 a group of cops in California clubbed together to buy a bike for teenager Jourdan Duncan after they spotted him on his five-hour round trip to work in Benicia.
Duncan, who’s from Vallejo, had to walk to his shifts on a packaging line after his car stopped working. He was spotted by police officer Kirk Keffer, who stopped to give him a lift home. As they got talking, Cpl. Keffer discovered that Duncan dreamed of one day joining the highway patrol and was working in order to pay for his further education.
Cpl. Keffer told CNN that he had been taken aback by Duncan’s story. “There are not too many kids these days who will walk five hours to go to work and are saving money for college,” Keffer noted. He and his colleagues subsequently clubbed together to purchase a mountain bike to help Duncan navigate the hills of Benicia and make his journey to work easier.
Unlike Duncan, though, Corbett hadn’t ended up with her long commute due to car trouble. She explained to ABC11 that she’d been looking for work after quitting her job at Waffle House, and the Nashville restaurant had offered her employment.
And now Corbett’s journey to work and back has become a whole lot easier. Because as Sgt. Bass revealed to The News & Observer, using the bike has reduced the time that she spends commuting by 50 percent.
In the press release, Chief Deputy Medina said he was “truly humbled” by Sgt. Bass’ efforts to help Corbett. And as for Bass, he was just happy that he could make a difference. He told The News & Observer, “When you have somebody that is honest and is working, any little thing could help them out.”