Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

Police surprise teen who walked 14 miles back and forth to work with a bike, and then some

A chance encounter between a hard-working teenager and a Benicia, California, police officer has changed both of their lives for the better.

Last September, Cpl. Kirk Keffer was patrolling in an industrial area after midnight when he spotted a young man walking down the street. Since the stretch of road was typically deserted at this time of day, he pulled over to check on the teen. Jourdan Duncan, now 19, explained that he was walking home from work — he didn't have the funds to repair his 2001 Volvo, and in order to not burden friends and family, he had been walking seven miles to and from work, two hours and 15 minutes each way, since July. Keffer told him to hop in the car, and he drove him home to Vallejo.

During the 15-minute ride, Keffer learned that Duncan was saving money for college and eventually wanted to join the California Highway Patrol. After he dropped Duncan off, Keffer had an idea — to reward him for his hard work, he'd get Duncan a bike. The Benicia Police Officers' Association was on board, and with the help of a local store, Keffer surprised Duncan with a brand new bike, complete with a lighting system and helmet. After The Washington Post highlighted their story, a GoFundMe account was set up, and Duncan was surprised yet again, this time with $42,000. He used $2,900 to purchase a 2003 Volkswagen Passat, and put the rest in the bank.

Duncan told the Post he is amazed by the outpouring of support, and because of his car, he is able to attend Solano Community College and keep his job. Keffer said Duncan, who wants to transfer to a four-year college and then attend the police academy, has "a bright future ahead of him," and Duncan is enjoying the college experience. "I'm used to kids my age and everything," he told the Post. "Here, they carry themselves more with pride, with care and everything. It just made me feel like, okay, I have to step up to the plate."