Officer Nick Basinger, with Southeast Missouri State University’s Department of Public Safety, never thought he’d hear from the stranger he found sleeping under a pavilion in Capaha Park in Cape Girardeau more than five months ago.
Now, he couldn’t believe that simple interaction meant so much.
“You know, the first thing I said to him, I started talking about Cardinal baseball actually,” Officer Basinger said.
Basinger is the kind of guy who rarely meets a stranger.
“He kind of looked at me funny, like ‘What do you want from me?’ I think he was waiting for me to tell him to beat feet and leave,” Officer Basinger said.
But, no. Behind the badge was just a man, who noticed someone who, he thought, might really need a friend.
“Turns out, he was a veteran, he served in Desert Storm. He was sleeping on a park bench, didn’t have any food, money, cell phone. Nothing. He was stranded out there,” Officer Basinger said.
Officer Basinger bought him groceries and gave him the resources to help him get back home.
“I got him the contacts he needed with Red Cross, Salvation Army,” Officer Basinger said.
The unlikely pair formed a bond through friendship, food and shared faith.
“I asked him, I said, ‘Hey, do you care if we have a quick prayer? I mean do you care if I pray with you for just a minute?’ and he said ‘No not at all.’ And we prayed,” Officer Basinger said.
Finally, he gave him his phone number.
“Nope. Never thought I’d hear from him again and I am so touched that I did,” Officer Basinger said.
Three days ago he got a text message from the man he met more than five months ago. He thanked him for what he did and for not “belittling” him.
“I’m here to help people, I’m not here to harass people,” Officer Basinger said.
It was a simple conversation: person to person, police officer to someone in need.
“If you can reach a hand out to anyone, no matter how small it is, do it. That’s why we are on this Earth, that’s why we are all here,” Officer Basinger said.
Basginer was so touched by the man’s message that he posted it on Facebook. Now, it’s been shared by thousands all over the world.