They were alone in an isolated industrial area.
While driving his patrol car through an industrial area late at night in Benicia, California, Officer Kirk Keffer spotted a teenager walking alone in a hoodie. “He kinda caught me off guard because I don’t usually see anybody out there,” the officer said. “There’s no sidewalks and he’s just kinda walking on the side of the street.” The lone pedestrian was out of the ordinary so the officer pulled up beside him on the desolate road. The pedestrian was an African-American teenager, 18-year-old Jourdan Duncan.
Alone and in an isolated area, Duncan was understandably nervous, so he went out of his way to ensure the officer he was only walking home from work. Duncan’s car had broken down six months ago, so every day he walked two and a half hours from his home in Vallejo to his job in Benicia, seven miles away. Keffer was blown away when he learned of the teenager’s work ethic. “Not a lot of teenagers that you meet have that kind of mindset,” Keffer said.
Keffer was so impressed that he gave Duncan a ride home that night. During the ride, Duncan told the officer that although people offer him rides to work, he’d rather make it on his own. After dropping him off, Keffer made plans to visit Duncan again. At their next meeting, Keffer gave him a bicycle paid for by the police association as well as $38,000 to buy a car and pursue his goal: to become a police officer.