When it comes to her health, Asia Ford has come a long way in the last two years. Once weighing more than 470 pounds, exercise has helped the Kentucky woman shed more than 200 pounds.
Ford decided to take part in Sunday’s Rodes City Run 10K race in Louisville as a fitness challenge to herself. She’s been training for months and was determined to finish the race. But with about two miles to go, Ford found herself struggling.
That's when she received a helping hand from an unexpected source.
As The Courier-Journal reports, Louisville Metro Police Lt. Aubrey Gregory noticed that Ford was having difficulty, so he emerged from his squad car and approached the woman to see if he could offer assistance.
"As soon as I walked up to her, she immediately grabbed my hand," Gregory told the news outlet. She told him that she didn’t want to stop, to which he reportedly responded: “Good, then we're going to do this together.”
For the last two miles, Gregory held Ford’s hand and together, they walked toward the finish line.
Ford completed the race in almost last place, The Courier-Journal reports, but when she finally crossed the finish line, she was welcomed like a champion.
"Your heart starts to fill up, you get those goose bumps and tingles all over your body," Gregory told WHAS 11 of Ford's strong finish. "When I watched her approach and I started to hear people scream and I let her go right there before the end and to see her raise her hands, there aren't words to express the way I felt seeing her be successful."
It was a “very, very special moment that I will never forget,” Gregory told The Courier-Journal.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer later posted photos of the encounter on Twitter. This, he wrote, is “what a compassionate city looks like.”
What a compassionate city looks like: Lt. Aubrey Gregory helps Asia Ford cross finish line. Photo: Jonathan Roberts pic.twitter.com/1WL9lxY9Lj
— Mayor Greg Fischer (@louisvillemayor) March 21, 2015
The heartwarming images have since gone viral on social media.
On Facebook, Ford called Gregory her "angel."
According to WHAS 11, Fischer and other city officials will recognize Ford, Gregory and Jonathan Roberts, the photographer who captured the special moment, in a ceremony on Monday.