FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – In Fort Worth, Police Officer Damon Cole is turning barriers into bridges. And to think, his latest hands-on exercise in neighborhood policing, all started with a bad haircut.
“So, I went on a disturbance call, about a month ago,” recalls Ofc. Cole, who grew up in Fort Worth and has worked as a police officer for nearly two decades. He says a Mom came home to find her teenage daughter skipping school. Ofc. Cole later learned that the teen was embarrassed by a homemade hair cut and was skipping school to avoid being teased. So he made her a better deal.READ MORE: Tarrant County Public Health Director Talks With Concerned Moms About Kids, Classrooms And COVID-19
“I told her, I said, ‘look, if you go to school, you be respectful to your mom, do the right thing… if you do that, I will take you and I will get your hair done.’ “
So Ofc. Cole continued to check on 16-year-old Ramiyah throughout the month. After confirming that she had indeed ‘stepped up’, he ‘showed up’ earlier this week to make good on his promise.
“Her face lit up when I pulled her out of class, it was amazing,” recalls Ofc. Cole. He shared that with her mother’s permission, they beat the end of the day traffic by a few minutes and hurried to the salon. He documented the journey with his cell phone — well, as best he could, with a terribly shy teen.READ MORE: At Least 10 Dead, More Than A Dozen Injured After Overloaded Van Carrying Migrants Crashes In South Texas
On a video that the officer later posted to YouTube, Ramiyah is seen hiding her face behind her hands, but then revealing glimpses of a megawatt smile, but only when coaxed to do so.
The trip to the salon was a big boost to the teen’s confidence, while also prompting her to reconsider her low opinion of police.
“She didn’t really care for police, she had a negative image of police,” admits Ofc. Cole. “I said, `I want you to make one promise to me: never judge a book by its cover. Wait until you interact with that officer, and then form an opinion.’ ”
Meanwhile, the veteran officer adds that he is also a father to an 11 year old daughter, Savannah. So he means it when he encourages those on both sides of the badge to remember that kindness is free.MORE NEWS: 'Wow, There Goes The Ground': North Texan Wally Funk Shares Story Of Her Dream Journey Into Space
“I always say ‘be the reason someone smiles today,’ I mean, that can change someone’s entire day… and it made my day.”