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.
“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.
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.
“I always say ‘be the reason someone smiles today,’ I mean, that can change someone’s entire day… and it made my day.”