When Lieutenant Tim McMillan of the Garden City Police Department pulled over a car on a routine traffic stop, his whole life would change. As he approached the vehicle, he noticed an African-American teenager shaking with fear with his hands raised above his head. “What do you want me to do officer?” the young man said, with what McMillan describes as a quivering voice. McMillan didn’t know how to respond, despite years of training.
He had only pulled him over for texting and driving, but was confronted with a youth absolutely terrified of the uniform he wore. This was not the serve and protect oath he had sworn. McMillan told the young man “I just don’t want you to get hurt” before reassuring him that he didn’t need to get out of the car, get on the ground or do anything but get home safely.
McMillan was so shaken by the event that he took to Facebook (where he goes by Shlomoh Melech) to share his story with the world and just try to show people how our divisive nature towards each other has affected the youth of today. In his post, he pleaded with anyone who would listen. “It doesn’t matter to me who’s to blame. I just wish somebody would fix it.” would be McMillan’s sign-off before going to bed.
In the morning, he couldn’t believe what had happened. His post had gone viral, touching the hearts of people across the country and around the world. Shared over 2000 times while he slept (and over 144,000 now), he had thousands of touching thank you messages waiting for him.
McMillan followed it up the next day by sending out another message, trying to deflect the gratitude and praise away from himself. “I’m just a regular guy, who lives paycheck to paycheck, who is so blessed to have an amazing wife and some incredible children I love with all of my heart,” he wrote, thanking people for their kind messages.
A Facebook fan page was soon created for this humble hero who just wanted people to be nicer to one and other. The group now has over 27,000 likes, and updates are regularly posted.
McMillan found the young man and spoke to him once again, taking the time to explain that Brandon (as he only referred to as) is just an example of the many black individuals who feel afraid of the police on a day to day basis. Regardless of how we got here, McMillan has one message: “Brandon, I promise you, we’re going to fix this.”