Lifestyle & Human Interest

Off-Duty Officer Sees Elderly Man Stranded on Road, Goes Out of Way To Replace Car Battery


With the rate at which videos are taken and distributed, it’s important to be careful that what we put out into the world is an accurate representation of what we see.

The way videos can be cut and edited can make us question reality sometimes, make a bad situation look worse or misrepresent the truth. There’s plenty of negative news available regarding law enforcement officers, but thankfully people are sharing their experiences with the good cops as well.

Detention Deputy Rafael Rodriguez has made it into the “news” of Facebook at least twice. The first time was in October 2018, when his efforts were recognized by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office during Hispanic Heritage Month.

“I have been working for PCSO in Detention since 2016, and I am Puerto Rican and proud of my heritage,” he wrote.

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“This agency has afforded me many opportunities, including specialized training involving mental health. Every day is a new and interesting challenge and I am proud to be a part of this great agency.

“My fianceé and I are both first responders — she’s an EMT — and we are both proud to serve our community!”

This power couple’s interest in helping the community extends beyond just their jobs, as Rodriguez proved on Aug. 5 — but the whole thing would have quietly disappeared into the background if a civilian hadn’t decided to document the encounter.

“There’s bad stuff out there in the world that gets shared on social media, and then there’s stuff like this,” the Polk County Sheriff Office’s post began.

“Our Facebook fan Manda sent us these photos, with this message. We have over 1,000 deputies here — but thanks to her, we were able to identify this deputy as Rafael Rodriguez.

“He’s a detention deputy, assigned to the South County Jail. He’s been with PCSO just over 3 years, and as you’ll read, he is totally awesome. Great job, Deputy Rodriguez!!!! And thank you Manda for taking the time to send this to us. We know our deputies are out there every day doing extraordinary things, and we don’t usually hear about them.”

“I want to post this on your page,” the woman, identified as Manda Lynn, wrote to the sheriff’s office. “I want to express how amazed I am at Polk County Sheriff’s Deputy Rodriguez. After a long day at work, he saw that someone was broken down on the side of the road, so instead of driving by, he stopped in his own private vehicle, and went way above and beyond to help.”

The car belonged to an elderly gentleman, who was stranded until Rodrguez stopped to see what was up. When he realized what the situation was, he took matters into his own hands.

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Not only did he help the elderly man get to a store so they could pick up a new battery for the car, but they also stopped by Rodriguez’s house on the way back so the deputy could take care of the battery on his own without the elderly man needing to pay for roadside assistance.

“He did this not for publicity, not as an officer of the law, but as a human being,” Manda continued. “He did this after he got off a long day at work and helped a stranger.”

“This not only says what kind of awesome man he is…but the type of people the Polk County Sheriff’s Office hires. Words can’t be enough to thank him. So I want everyone to know how much I greatly appreciate the help,” she added.

“Deputy Rodriguez did an amazing job and went above and beyond the call to help a stranger. He deserves a ‘Man of the year’ award.”

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