When a deputy in Polk County, Georgia, collapsed while out on a work detail in 76-degree heat, the six inmates under his supervision were presented with an unexpected opportunity.
As the New York Post pointed out, they could have taken his gun and fled in his van.
They could have taken his gun and fled in his van, but they didn’t. They saved his life https://t.co/9AD0CQRWIV
— New York Post (@nypost) June 21, 2017
Instead, they took the alternative opportunity.
The opportunity to do the right thing and save the deputy’s life.
Despite being busy working in a local cemetery in the immense heat and 100% humidity, the inmates were concerned and observant enough to know something wasn’t right with the deputy.
“I started coughing spells, and every time I got those, I’d get hotter. It was just harder to keep up. I just finally went down after a couple of minutes doing that,” he later said.
The deputy, who asked not to be identified, suffers from chronic Chiari malformation, which causes fluids to not flow properly.
He believes the high humidity helped bring on the collapse that brought out the best in the inmates.
After opening his shirt, they removed his bullet-proof vest in case CPR had to be performed. One inmate found the deputy’s cell phone and called 911.
Having worked together seven hours a day, five days a week, the inmates know the deputy well. When the time came, the bond that has formed didn’t break.
“None of my guys ran,” said the deputy of the six men who saved his life. “None of them did anything they shouldn’t have done.”
“That moment when they’re out, they’re not really inmates to you,” he added. “They’re just a group of guys and you’re out. You try to be more like friends and in my case, it just worked out for the better.”
In recognition of the inmates’ actions, Polk County Sheriff Johnny Moats has said he’ll cut their sentences by around 25%.
“Anytime we have a trustee or inmate crew, that goes beyond normal duties, we cut them some extra time off,” he said.
They also received a free lunch, despite people saying there’s no such thing, and adoration for their good deed from media outlets and members of the public across the nation.