This police officer had been in the forest for many years now and had seen many things. What he saw on this particular day was something he just could not stand. He was a good officer and always went out of his way to ensure that he did the right thing by everyone. Being a policeman is hard work at the best of times; it often involves having to make difficult judgment calls. When this officer saw what a woman driving in front of him was up to, he knew that he had to somehow intervene.
When Ebony Rhodes realized what was happening, she tightened her grip on the steering wheel. Sweat was steadily dripping down her face as she watched in her rearview mirror. The police officer following behind approached her vehicle. She was trying her best to stay calm; panicking would not help her in this situation. She knew that she was in big trouble.
Ebony Rhodes had been going through a very difficult time of late. Life had been hurling all sorts of challenges her way. After the recent loss of her mother, she and her family packed their bags and headed for Atlanta, Georgia, to start a new life.
Ebony had to stay strong for the sake of her kids, who she loved more than anything in the world. Being a single mother of four certainly has its challenges. In order to successfully provide for her family, she needed to get herself a stable job. This is why the family headed for the city where job opportunities are much better. However, things did not quite go as planned.
Ebony had to face up to a reality that was very unforgiving. She was determined to keep it a secret for the sake of protecting her children. On this particular afternoon, Ebony was driving her children to the library. Whatever the circumstances, she wanted to give her children the best chance at life, and she would try her utmost to make that happen for them.
The kids had finals coming up, so now was a more important time than ever for them to be studying hard. This had been consuming her thoughts recently; she was constantly worrying about them and wishing that things were different. This was where her head was at when the police patrol car pulled up behind her.
When she caught a glimpse of the flashing lights, she knew that she was being pulled over. It was only a matter of time before this would happen. Her car had an expired tag, and she hadn’t been able to get enough money together to renew it. This wasn’t even the worst of it; her license had also been suspended, and she had no insurance. This was not something that the police would be understanding about.
There was something worth playing on her mind. The secret that she had tried so hard to conceal was now in danger of being exposed. Her mind raced with all sorts of terrible thoughts, and she couldn’t help but begin to cry.
By the time the officer approached the car, Ebony had tears streaming down her face. When the officer noticed this, he was taken aback. She came to the car and asked why she was crying, and she replied, “Because I know my license isn’t good,” Ebony recalled. While the officer, of course, felt sorry for Ebony, she had no choice but to arrest her and impound her car after taking a look at her documents.
The officer took Ebony and her four children to the police station, where she would have the opportunity to call a co-worker and request that they pick her children up and notify her sister of the situation. She was living in Florida at the time, and she was the only person that would be able to look after the kids while Ebony was in jail.
However, this meant that they needed to get to Florida. Ebony couldn’t stand the thought of her children being that far away, especially at a moment when she needed them the most. Unfortunately for Ebony, the officers on duty had no choice but to search her car given the circumstances. Ebony was so afraid of her secret being discovered, but there was no way that they wouldn’t uncover it once they had a thorough look inside her car.
The officer who had stopped Ebony began to search the car with the help of several colleagues. They didn’t know what they were expecting to find, but it certainly wasn’t this. They got more than they bargained for in this instance.
When Chief Glazier got wind of what they had discovered, he immediately headed over to the impound lot to see for himself. Upon registering what was going on, he said, “We have to do something about this.” Inside Ebony’s 1997 Buick Regal, the police officers found several bags, backpacks, and other items. At first glance, this looked like the kind of contents that you might find inside a hoarder’s car.
Then the truth dawned on them; it became clear to the officers that this car had become a home for Ebony and her family. They had been sleeping and living in the car.
Chief Glazier was very shocked and headed to Ebony’s cell to find out the reason behind this. The truth was out; Ebony had nothing to lose in telling the chief the whole story from start to finish. Since moving to Atlanta, Ebony had gotten herself a job at Walmart store.
She was paid very little, and the situation was made worse due to the fact that she and two of her kids suffered from chronic health issues. She ended up in such a bad financial position that she found that she was unable to put down a deposit on an apartment. Consequently, she and her family ended up homeless. For the last six months, they had been living in that car.
When Chief Glazier heard the story, his heart went out to Ebony and her family. Finding a safe place to park her car at night was often difficult. It at times meant driving around for hours on end in search of a good spot.
“I was watching to make sure nothing happened, no one tried to rob us, so we just stay right there in the car,” Ebony said. A lot of people didn’t know that because I was still going to work. This was no way to raise a family, and she was very conscious of that. “I apologized to my kids and let them know I’m sorry,” she confessed. When she saw the police car behind her that day, she thought that they would lose their home. Fortunately, she was wrong about this.
Chief Glazier knew what he had to do. He called the director of a family homeless shelter whom he had recently met. “I called her up and said, ‘Listen, I’ve got a family of five, including three boys and a girl, and he’s 17,’” he recalls, “and she knows, ‘Yeah, I have some room, and if you know anything about shelters in the middle of winter, there’s nothing available, and she had something available. I couldn’t believe it, neither could Ebony.” Perhaps her luck was finally turning around.
He organized a fundraising drive among the police department staff so that Ebony’s family could get an apartment. This did help initially, but they soon realized that it wasn’t enough to keep them stable, so they went public with their story.
The Atlanta PD set up a GoFundMe page to help Ebony and her family. The initial amount that they aimed for was fifteen thousand dollars, which they reached in a matter of days. They then decided to increase it to seventy-five thousand dollars to help cover the family’s medical expenses. So far, they have raised sixty-four thousand seven hundred and thirty dollars.
Amazingly, Ebony now looks back on the moment she was stopped by the police car with immense gratitude. “Atlanta Police Department is my backbone,” says Ebony. “They helped me come a long way.
The whole APD is my family because I can call on them for everything.” That day completely turned things around for Ebony and her kids. “If I had not got pulled over that day, I’d probably still be in my car, just taking a risk every day, losing that car, and getting pulled over. That day changed my life,” she said. This is all thanks to a kind-hearted police officer who went above and beyond what is required to help a family in need.