When 95-year-old World War II veteran Julius Hatley’s air conditioner broke in the 90 degree Fort Worth, Texas summer heat, he called 911 for assistance after first seeking the cool shade on his porch, but finding no relief.
William Margolis was one of the police officers who responded to the call, telling CBS News: “This wasn’t a regular 911 call.” The man’s call was low in the priority queue since it wasn’t an emergency, but Margolis and his partner, Christopher Weir, found the time to stop by the man’s home.
Margolis explained, “When we got there around 8:30 a.m, his house was 85 to 90 degrees already.” He added, “In Texas, it gets hot.“
While they weren’t able to immediately help Hatley, they did come up with a solution. The officers stopped at a Home Depot and bought the man a new air conditioner. When they told the Home Depot employees that they were buying the air conditioner for the man, they pitched in as well, donating to help pay for the unit.
Margolis told CBS News: “[Hatley] was actually really excited. He said he knew if he needed help to call 911, and we actually were able to help him, so he was really excited about that.”
Weir’s wife noted that the officers captured some attention for their good deed: “Since the story [first shared], we have all worked on getting his central air replaced, and a company came forward to do so, completely for free. We are currently working on getting his windows replaced, his house repainted, and groceries every week.”
She noted in a Facebook post about the kind gesture: “This is what being an officer is about.”
Those leaving comments on the CBS News YouTube video about the story were won over by the kind gesture, with one person noting: “Nice officers and companies that helped make that happen. We need more people like that in our world. Not just officers, but everybody.”
Another person added: “Thank you, officers, for your heartfelt care and concern for people. Your generosity is mind-blowing. All that matters in this life is the good we leave behind. Hugs to you, the employees of Home Depot and the HVAC who helped him. There is good in this world.”
One commenter wondered, “how many other people are in his situation in FW? The city along with corporate sponsors should be there for senior citizens like this man.”
This commenter shared a similar story of generosity, writing: “When I worked at Red Lobster, the entire restaurant pitched in to help an elderly man (who was a regular) move into a smaller place. He didn’t have friends that could help him move, he needed young people to lift furniture. It turned into a giant afternoon party, and more than enough people came to help out.”
On the Good Morning America Facebook post about the story, one person commented: “The good guys do it again. They’re more than just a uniform… these folks are good samaritans as well. Hail to the men in blue for reacting so quickly, Home Depot for generously helping to underwrite the cost of the unit, and kudos to the owner of the a/c company. Restored my faith in mankind.”