Officer Joe Holt
Officer Joe Holt works for the Independence, Missouri Police Department. Independence police officers often deal with property crimes, burglary, car theft, larceny, arson, and a slew of other crimes. According to the FBI, the city has one of the highest rates of vehicle theft in the United States. Officer Holt is one of the 200 officers working for the police department, and they often work 12-hour shifts patrolling the city. The officers keep an eye out for crimes, especially those involving car thefts. According to the department, the only way to bring down the FBI statistics is for citizens to see a police presence.
On a rainy day in August 2019, Officer Holt was out patrolling, keeping his city safe. While working, he got hungry. He decided to stop for something to eat, so he pulled into a local Hy-Vee store to get some food. Hy-Vee is a store with locations all across eight Midwestern states. The reason that Officer Holt stopped there for food was that it isn’t your typical supermarket. Besides selling groceries, they also had fast food options, including a Chinese takeout restaurant and an Italian restaurant. He realized that he would have plenty of meal options, so he decided to stop there. Although he was stopping for food, he was still on full alert. He was always on duty, so he checked out the parking lot while going into the store. What he saw was shocking.
An Elderly Woman
While Officer Holt was scanning the parking lot on the way into the store, he noticed an elderly woman struggling to get her shopping cart in between cars due to the pouring rain. Suddenly, he saw a teenager running after her. His first thought was that the teenager was preying on the woman because of her age and that he was going to steal her purse. Officer Holt moved in quickly, believing that the woman needed his assistance. When he got closer and saw what was going on, it left him stunned.
The Teen’s Coat
When Officer Holt got closer to the woman and the teen, he saw the teen take his coat off. He put it over the woman to keep her from getting wet, and he pushed her shopping cart to the car. After helping the woman get her groceries in her car, the teen returned to his mother’s vehicle. Officer Holt was so shocked by what he saw; he decided to use his phone to take a picture.
Speaking With His Mother
When the elderly woman drove off, Officer Holt went over to the car that the teen went to. He told the teen’s mother what her son had done. She told the officer that it wasn’t the first time that her son had helped someone in need; however, it didn’t stop her from fighting back the tears. She was proud of her son for what he had done.
After Officer Holt got his food and returned to his car, he realized that letting the teen’s mother know what he had done wasn’t enough. He says that kids these days aren’t as respectful to others as they once were, and this teen was special. Officer Holt wanted to make an example of the boy, but he didn’t know his name. He decided to use Facebook to figure out who he was. Since about 120,000 people are living in Independence, he was sure that he would have trouble finding him on his own, which is why he turned to Facebook.
Officer Holt posted the picture on Facebook with a caption that read, “Do you know him?” He added, “This car cared less about race religion or color. The only thing the kid cared about was being kind.” It wasn’t long before the post went viral. When the story made national news, Officer Holt finally got the information that he needed.
When one of the teen’s family members saw the news, he called the police department to let Officer Holt know that the teen’s name was Tyrea Pryor. Officer Holt was thrilled when he finally put a name to the face because he wanted to do something nice for the teen, the way that he did for the elderly woman in the pouring rain.
In Officer Holt’s post, he mentioned that he wanted to take the teen out for a nice meal when he found out who he was. When he learned that it was Tyrea Pryor, he sought him out, and the two shared a meal together. He believed that the young man deserved a reward.
Making a Difference
Tyrea used his minor celebrity as an opportunity to make a difference in other kids’ lives. Today, he is a motivational speaker who travels to schools in the Independence area. He volunteers his time to inspire fourth and fifth-grade students to be better people and to achieve their ambitions. After A Cop Saw How A Teen Treated An Elderly Lady, He Had No Choice But To Hunt Him Down, and it allowed the teen to help others.