You don’t always have to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes to understand their needs.
Jonesboro, Arkansas, police officer John Shipman proved that to be true last month, when he noticed a young man walking along the road at 2 a.m. on a night when temperatures dipped to 19 degrees, according to local news station KAIT. Shipman offered college student James Taylor a ride home, and has since launched a online fundraiser for Taylor that had raised $5,880 as of Tuesday afternoon.
Taylor had been traveling home after finishing his shift at McDonald’s when he was stopped by Shipman. Unable to afford a car, the Arkansas State University student explained that he makes the daily four-mile trek from his apartment to his job by foot.
"I asked [Taylor], 'So you went to work tonight knowing that you didn't have a ride home, and that it was going to be freezing?'" Shipman said. "And he said 'Yes sir, I have to. I don't have any other choice.'"
The day after giving him a ride home, Shipman stopped by Taylor's apartment and gave him $20 for cab ribes. The officer also posted about the student’s situation on Facebook, and received an overwhelming response from their local community wanting to help.
Soon, a GoFundMe account was set up to raise money to buy Taylor a car. Within three days, the $1,400 goal was reached, and donations were still pouring in. The Jonesboro community also provided Taylor with $200 worth of winter clothing.
"I can’t put into words what it means to me that John and the community are helping me," Taylor told "The Ellen Degeneres Show’s" Good News page.
Taylor does not stand alone in his admirable work ethic. His story of determination comes weeks after that of James Robertson, the 56-year-old Detroit resident who walked 21 miles each way to work.
Similar to Sherman’s efforts, college student Evan Leedy took to the Internet for help, and set up a GoFundMe account to help raise money to buy Robertson a car. It began with a goal of $5,000 and rose to more than $350,000 from thousands of people worldwide.
For both Taylor and Robertson, a simple, unexpected act of kindness grew to change their daily lives dramatically. As Taylor told KAIT, "These kind of people, you don't meet every day.”