BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — An Indiana police officer is receiving applause for praying with a distraught speeding driver rather than writing him a ticket.
The incident occurred on Monday as truck driver Rodney Gibson was struggling with recent news that his daughter’s breast cancer had metastasized. He was so upset that he didn’t realize that he was speeding.
Indiana State Police Sgt. Todd Durnil pulled Gibson over and noticed that he was “upset and angry,” ABC News reports, but believed that there was “something else going on” other than the traffic stop. He wasn’t sure how to approach the subject, but soon struck up small talk over a pin on Gibson’s visor.
Gibson then explained that the pin belonged to his daughter, and that she had recently been informed that the breast cancer that she had been fighting for six years had metastasized and that her chances for survival were grim.
Durnil then walked back to his police car, resolving that he wasn’t going to give the man a ticket. He thought to himself that Gibson instead needed prayer, and concluded that he would share the need with his family and church.
“I also thought, this man already has enough, I’m not going to write him any paperwork for a ticket or even a warning,” Durnil told reporters. “When I walked back to his truck, I explained everything. He still seemed agitated, but not as bad, and he apologized, saying, ‘I’m sorry. I usually don’t act this way; I’ve just been going through a lot.'”
The officer then asked Gibson if there was anything he could do to help, and the man replied, “Do you know how to pray?”
Durnil was taken aback that they both had thought the same thing.
“Here I was thinking this man needs prayer, and now he’s asking me for a prayer,” Durnil said.
The officer then went on the other side of the truck, took off his hat, reached out for Gibson’s hand and prayed. The two shed tears together.
“The good Lord put us together for a purpose,” Durnil stated.
According to reports, Gibson later contacted the police station, leaving a message to tell Durnil thank you. The trucking company for which Gibson works also contacted the police station to give the officer Gibson’s number so the two could connect again.
Durnil asks that all who learn of the incident pray for Gibson and his daughter.
“I hope everyone that hears about this is one more person that can pray for him and his family,” he told ABC News.