Inspirational

Viral Photo Shows the Moment a White State Trooper Prayed for a Black Man During a Routine Traffic Stop

Another photo of a white police officer with a black man is being circulated, but it’s probably not what you think. This is a heart-warming photo that’s gone viral because it shows the moment a white state trooper prayed for a black man during a routine traffic stop.

The Moment a White State Trooper Prayed for a Black Man

On Monday, March 28, North Carolina State Trooper Jaret Doty was on duty, when he noticed a 2016 silver Volvo speeding on Interstate 85 in North Carolina’s Rowan County. As usual, he put on his lights and began pursuing the vehicle, heading south on I-85. What 45-year-old Doty didn’t know is that this stop was not going to be a typical one for him. It would be this stop that he would get an opportunity that he had been waiting for.

Later talking about what propelled the moment the white state trooper prayed for a black man at a routine traffic stop, Doty said, “It’s just one of those things I can’t explain.”

In the car of that silver Volvo was Tony Geddis, the African American man pictured in the viral photo. Only he was the passenger and his 39-year-old daughter, Ashlye V. Wilkerson, was driving. In the back seat were Wilkerson’s mother and her two young children. The family was heading back home to Columbia, South Carolina, after Geddis’ chemo treatments. The family was understandably anxious before they even saw the lights of that state trooper. But as a family of color, their nerves increased as Wilkerson pulled to the side of the road in front of the white police officer following them in his state patrol vehicle.

Right away, Wilkerson saw she’d been speeding and told her father that was the reason for them being pulled over.

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She said, “Oh God, I’m speeding, Dad.”

And, as was true to their relationship, Geddis, talked to his daughter, trying to calm her.

A White Officer Approaches the Car

Doty approached the vehicle on the right side and spoke through the rolled-down passenger side window, where Geddis was seated.

Doty introduced himself and then said those words, many of us have heard before, “Ma’am, do you know what speed you were doing?” And then he asked for Wilkerson’s license and registration.

In an attempt to defend his daughter, Geddis said, “This is my baby girl. She’s driving me home from a chemo treatment at the cancer center at Duke.”

Doty had noticed the older man had been slumped in his seat, but the way he struggled to get out his defense, which came in just a whisper, it was obvious Geddis was struggling with something serious.

Doty Takes it Personally

Later, Doty recalled that he noticed a pouch Geddis was carrying near his pelvic area. Doty knew what this pouch was because he, too, had had to wear one before when he had suffered from severe ulcerative colitis that led to surgery for the removal of parts of his colon. Doty had more than one bout with this painful sickness, and the impact was great.

As Doty explained, “I felt like I was dying.”

At one point Doty’s doctors explained to him that if he had not gotten his illness treated, he would have likely had colon cancer.

Officer Doty returned to his patrol car not saying much to the family, but his memories of his illness flooded back. He recalled how the supportive people around him had helped him get through it. And he remembered the many prayers said on his behalf.

And at the time, Doty made a vow to himself, “I said that if I could touch one person, or help somebody get through their illness, I would do it.”

Trooper Doty returned to the Volvo and instead of giving Geddis’ daughter a ticket, he decided to reach out to the family in some way.

“Sir, do you mind if I ask what kind of cancer you have?” Doty asked Geddis.

Despite the surprising question, Geddis answered, “No, I don’t mind. I have colon cancer.”

And that’s when Doty determined exactly how he would touch this person’s life. “Can I pray for you?” he asked Geddis.

Given that Geddis’ wife, Rev. Fannie M. Geddis, and he were actively involved in church life and strong Christians, Geddis answered, “Of course. I absolutely believe in prayer.”

And right then and there, Doty took Geddis’ hand and the white state trooper prayed for a black man. Wilkerson was moved and took a photo of the moment.

Wondering what happened to Geddis after that? Read on…

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Jessica Sausto
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Jessica Sausto is a longtime writer and editor of Christian resources, news, and information.

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