Darian Jack was having a rotten, no good, very bad night. First, she lost her wallet at Walmart. Then, on her way to a night shift as a security guard for a local health-care facility, she realized the car’s gas gauge hovered on empty — nowhere enough fuel to get her to work and home.
Then, she saw flashing lights behind her. When the officer informed Jack she’d been speeding and asked for her license, it was the last straw. She tearfully explained why she couldn’t comply.
“It was embarrassing because I was like, ‘I lost my wallet … I was trying to get to work. I have no gas. I’m just trying to get home,’” Jack recalled to yaktrinews.com.
The officer, later identified as Officer Austen Cagle, checked recent reports and confirmed Jack had notified the department of a stolen wallet and identification. Of course, he could have written out the traffic violation ticket and left Jack on her own to figure out how to resolve her current conundrum. Instead, Cagle escorted her to the nearest gas station and paid for a full tank. He even pumped the fuel for her.
“We’re all human. We’ve all been in tough positions,” Cagle said. “She was having a rough night, and I was glad I was able to help her out.”
Like any good superhero, Cagle quietly removed himself before Jack had the opportunity to get his name. However, she didn’t want the generosity to go unnoticed. She posted a picture of the officer pumping the gas to her social media, hoping a friend would recognize him and pass along his name. The plan worked. The post made its way to Yakima Police Chief Matthew Murray, who identified Cagle.
For his part, Cagle insists the event wasn’t a big deal. Not only does he enjoy helping the citizens of his community, but he says it’s the standard operating practice for his colleagues, too.
“It’s absolutely not a cultural abnormality for our police department; stuff like this happens all the time,” Cagle said. “I know for a fact that everyone I work with, placed in the exact same position, would make the exact same decision.”
That’s the spirit Jack hopes to exhibit, too. Well before her rotten, no good, very bad night, she initiated the process to join either the Yakima P.D. or Washington State Patrol.
“I wanted to help people and make my life worth something,” she said.
She already has a supporter. “I’m extremely excited for her and for the department,” Cagle said. “I really, really do hope everything goes well for her.”