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Traffic is an American curse. It doesn’t seem to matter what state you live in, traffic is a burden almost everyone has to deal with during their week. Whether you drive or not, you probably face some kind of traffic – unless you’re retired and living the good life. Commuters in New York City know the congestion of the subway trains, everyone else knows what it’s like to sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic. That’s what happened to one University of Texas student moments before graduation – except he also had car trouble that put his vehicle out of commission. He was going to miss the ceremony – but then the Austin police showed up and saved the day.
If the police officers in Austin had not been so thoughtful, UT graduate Xavier Baldwin would not have walked at his ceremony. He made it just in time to accept his diploma in front of his proud family.
On their way to the graduation ceremony, Baldwin car broke down – he had all his family in the car, too. But help arrived pronto – in the form of the Austin police department, and they were eager to serve the young member of their community.
“I would like to give special thanks to Sgt. Mike Cowden and Officer Ashley Uribe of the Austin Police Department for helping me when my Explorer broke down on my way to the commencement ceremony,” wrote Baldwin in a public Facebook post. “I was able to make it with minutes to spare thanks to their efforts.”
Cowden and Uribe were both assigned to the area for the graduation ceremony, which is huge. When Baldwin’s car stalled on the 15th Street exit off Interstate 35, Cowden pulled up.
After listening to Baldwin’s story, Cowden radioed Uribe for help to move the 1993 Ford Explorer out of the way of traffic. She had the proper vehicle for the job.
“The police interceptor that Uribe drove was also a Ford Explorer,” Baldwin remarked, “but it was from the latest generation. Mine was from the first.”
Betty Johnson, Baldwin’s mother, offered to stay with the car until the tow truck arrive – but then she would have missed her son’s graduation. Instead, Cowden offered to stay with the car while Uribe drove them to the graduation.
“When my car broke down, I thought I would be ultra late to the graduation ceremony,” Baldwin told KVUE. “It was the most inconvenient thing because it had never broken down before then.”
Although he was the last student to get in line, Baldwin was still on time. Uribe and Cowden had saved the day.
“Officer Uribe and I were there working, but we have a couple thousand cops who would have done the exact thing,” added Cowden. “We were just fortunate to be able to have helped them and I think anyone would have done the same thing.”
“This experience opened my eyes more on what the police really do,” said Baldwin. “Meeting Cowden and Uribe was a great pleasure and honor, and I’ll remember them for a lifetime for helping me on one of the most important days of my life.”
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