A Long Commute
Jaylesya Corbett’s days were not easy. Each morning, her commute to work was 12 miles there and 12 miles home. She had to leave the house in the morning when it was still dark to make sure that she arrived at her job at Bojangles on time. Regardless of the weather, she had to walk to work. During one of her commutes, it was pouring rain outside. What happened that day would change her view of law enforcement for the rest of her life. This will force you to look at cops differently, as well.
Red and Blue Lights
On this particular morning, North Carolina resident, Jaylesya Corbett was walking to Bojangles’ Famous Chicken ‘n’ Biscuits. She walked from her home at the Stone Gate Mobile Home Community in western Rocky Mount to her job at 101 W. Nashville Drive in Nashville. It was pouring outside that day, and Jaylesya noticed that a car was following her. It was still dark outside, so Jaylesya got nervous. Anytime a woman alone is being followed; there is cause for concern. When Jaylesya turned around, he realized that it was a police car. The lights were on, and Jaylesya started to wonder what was going on. Seeing that it was a police officer following her didn’t calm her anxiety.
A Six-Mile Walk
For Jaylesya to get to work each day, she had to walk six miles to Bojangles’. She worked there every day, and since she didn’t have a car, her only option was to walk to work. The six-mile walk to work was challenging, but the six-mile walk home was even worse. After being on her feet all day working, the walk home was always tough. Jaylesya knew that she had to do it if she was going to keep her job, so it was her daily routine. The only good part about walking to work was that the temperature outside wasn’t too hot or too cold. The weather was often pleasant when she walked to work, except on days like this one when it rained.
The first thing that crossed Jaylesya’s mind was that the officer was going to stop her and question her, which meant that she would be late for work. She didn’t want to be delayed, especially since it was pouring rain. She worried that if the officer did question her, that things would just get worse. She tried to keep walking confidently, but her stride did nothing. The officer didn’t take her confident stride as a sign that she was walking with purpose and in a hurry, and he started to beep his horn.
What Is Going On?
When the officer tried to stop Jaylesya, she started to get stressed out. She wondered why the officer was trying to stop her in the first place. Had something happened at work before she arrived? Had something happened in her neighborhood, and the police wanted to ask her some questions? Jaylesya was a law-abiding citizen, and she knew that she hadn’t done anything illegal, but did the officer know this? She had no criminal record and had no idea what was going on. She couldn’t think of a good reason for the officer to be stopping her while she was just trying to get to work on time.
Sergeant Scott Bass
Sergeant Scott Bass worked the early morning shift each day. He also patrolled the same area, which took him past the Stone Gate Mobile Home Community, which took him straight to the Nash Country Sheriff’s Office. He was heading back to the station when he saw a woman walking. This wasn’t unusual, as he had seen her walking most mornings. What was different on this day was that it was pouring rain outside, and the woman was trying to forge ahead. When he turned on his siren, he didn’t do it to scare the woman. He just wanted to get her attention. Since it was raining so heavily, he worried that she wouldn’t look up if he pulled up beside her, so he turned on his siren.
The Deputy Sheriff decided that this would be a good day to stop the woman to talk. He had seen her many times, but on some days, he didn’t. He returned to the station late on some days, so their schedules didn’t always match up. This wasn’t the first time that he wanted to stop and talk to the woman, but on most days, he was in a hurry and didn’t have the time. On this day, he saw her walking, and it was raining very hard, so he believed it would be a good time to stop her to talk. He knew that it could be days or even weeks before their schedules matched up perfectly again.
When Jaylesya woke up that morning, the sky was gray, but it didn’t look too bad outside. She knew that it was going to rain, so she took her umbrella. She figured that she could take shelter underneath it while she walked, keeping her dry for the day. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out that way. While she was walking, the storm picked up, and the wind was blowing hard. A strong gust of wind ripped the umbrella from her hand, which broke it. Now, she was walking the pouring rain without an umbrella. This wasn’t going to make her walk to work easy or fun, and the fact that she was being flagged down by a police officer made the commute even worse.
Making the Walk Bearable
Jaylesya was used to walking to work each day and being on her feet. Between the commute to and from work, and being at work, she was on her feet almost all day. Jaylesya made sure that she wore comfortable shoes each day. She didn’t mind spending a bit more money on her sneakers, because she needed a comfortable pair. On this day in the rain, after her umbrella had failed and she was walking in the rain, and through puddles, her shoes weren’t holding up. They were soaked and weighed her feet down. Soon, they were soaked and making her feet hurt. She was worried about how she would get through the day being soaking wet, with wet shoes and sore feet. The last thing she wanted was to be detained by a police officer.
Jaylesya walked 12 miles every day to get to work. Some might wonder why she was willing to make such a long commute on foot. She says that when she leaves the house in the morning, she thinks about what she needs to do to support her family and keep food on the table. This is motivation enough for her to take such a long trip. She couldn’t let the weather be an issue, because regardless of the rain, her bills would always be there so that she couldn’t miss a day of work.
On this rainy morning, when the Sheriff’s Deputy was trying to stop Jaylesya, she was trying to figure out what he wanted with her. Had she crossed the street illegally? Was it illegal for her to walk along the busy road? Did the officer think that the weather conditions made it too dangerous for her to be walking? She continued to try to figure out why the officer wanted to speak to her.
Jaylesya knew that she could only ignore the officer for so long. She hoped that it was just a mistake, and he had mistaken her for someone else. She hoped that the officer would drive by her on his way to stop a driver, but that didn’t happen. She knew that evading the officer would be more stressful and could potentially get her in trouble; she realized that the only thing for her to do would be to stop and find out what the officer wanted. Jaylesya turned around with a defiant stance and waited for the officer to come to a complete stop so that she could finally face the music. She knew that if she was ever going to get out of the rain and get to work, she had to speak to him.
When Jaylesya stood there, waiting for the officer to stop, her anxiety kicked into high gear. She tried to think of something to say if the officer questioned her. She couldn’t think of anything good to say because she had no idea why he was stopping her in the first place. She had no idea what to tell the officer when he stopped, but she didn’t have to say anything. When the car stopped, and she saw the words, “Sheriff- Nash County” on the vehicle, the officer spoke first.
When the officer pulled up to Jaylesya, he was sitting calmly in the car. He didn’t try to apprehend her, which made her feel a little better. He told her that his name was Sergeant Bass, and he politely asked her to get in his car. She told him that she couldn’t because she was going to be late for her shift at Bojangles’, but the officer insisted. Jaylesya knew that she couldn’t ignore the command of a police officer, she relented. She got in the officer’s car, knowing that she would have a lot of explaining to do at work afterward.
An Uncomfortable Ride
When Jaylsya got into the officer’s car, he started driving. He didn’t speak, so she had no idea why she was in his car in the first place. Her anxiety starting kicking up into full gear again, while she waited for him to say something. She looked out the window trying to figure out where they were, but it was raining so hard, she couldn’t tell where they were or where they were going. She realized that the only thing that she could do was sit back and wait for him to tell her what was going on or where they were going.
While the officer was driving, Jaylesya became more and more frustrated. If she was being arrested, didn’t she have the right to know why? Why wasn’t the officer speaking to her or telling her where they were going? Soon, her anxiety turned to anger. He was keeping her in the dark, and it wasn’t fair. It wasn’t until she looked out the window that she realized what was going on. They were outside Bojangles’. Even though she was at work, she still worried. What would her boss think of seeing her pull up to work in a police car? Would he think that she was in trouble? The day was confusing, and Jaylesya didn’t know what to think.
Sergeant Bass saw Jaylesya many days, wearing her Bojangles’ apron, walking to work. She was a familiar face to him, and he concluded that she was on her way to work every morning. He knew the approximate distance from the trailer park to Bojangles,’ and it was a far walk. He admired her grit and determination, and it was something that he couldn’t ignore on days like this one when the rain is coming down hard. The officer was impressed by her strength. Just driving back and forth, the six-mile stretch of road was exhausting for Sergeant Bass. He couldn’t imagine walking it each day. That morning, her tenacity touched him because of the weather, and he knew that he had to stop her. He wanted to help her out. He knew that the commute back and forth took about four hours a day, and he simply wanted to help.
Sergeant Bass told Jaylesya why he stopped her. He told her that she walks the same road that he patrols, and he didn’t mind giving her a ride in bad weather because it wasn’t out of his way. At the time, he didn’t tell her how much he admired her determination. She thanked him for the ride and didn’t expect to hear from him again until he called her, asking her to meet him at the station. When he requested her presence, she wasn’t too worried. She knew that he was a good guy, so there must have been a good reason for his call. Being summoned was a bit nerve-wracking, but she went to meet him anyway.
A Schwinn Fairhaven Women’s Cruiser Bicycle
When Jaylesya got to the station, Sergeant Bass took her out to the parking lot, where there was a brand new Schwinn Fairhaven Women’s Cruiser bicycle waiting for her. It was a gift. He thought that it would help her get to and from work faster, making her life a bit easier. Jaylesya couldn’t believe it. She got very emotional. The officer told her that he admired her and respected her desire to support her family. He called the local Walmart and told the manager all about Jaylesya. The manager agreed to donate the bike to make her life easier.
It’s Not Charity
Sergeant Bass wanted to let Jaylesya know right away that the gift wasn’t charity. He told her it was a hard-earned gift, and she deserved it. She couldn’t believe that any police officer would go out of their way like that. His generosity and empathy touched her in a way that she never expected. This incredibly kind and thoughtful gesture changed the way that she looks at the police. Thanks to the bike, she didn’t have to get up so early. When word of the good deed got out, the two were interviewed. The reporter asked Jaylesya why she didn’t work at the branch closer to her home. She told the reporter that there were no openings at that branch, so she took the job that was offered. When Bojangles’ heard her story, she was offered a job at the closer location, and she seized the opportunity. Jaylesya couldn’t believe that being stopped in the rain by a police officer could affect her life in such a positive way. She says that she will forever be grateful to Sergeant Bass.