A routine traffic stop turned into an amazing opportunity for an Illinois man.
Cahokia Police Officer Roger Gemoules pulled over Ka’Shawn Baldwin, 22, Wednesday for allegedly having expired license plates. The East St. Louis native also did not have a valid driver’s license.
Baldwin informed Gemoules that his driver’s license was suspended, but he was unaware that the license plates he borrowed from a friend had expired.
“The routine thing is to tow the car and take the person to jail who is driving the car,” Baldwin told NBC News.
He told the officer that he was driving illegally because he had no other way to get to a job interview at a FedEx facility.
Once he was told that the car couldn’t be driven any farther, Baldwin asked if Gemoules could drive him to the interview and the officer agreed.
“He was polite when I pulled him over and he seemed like a good young man, so I wanted to give him a chance,” Gemoules told NBC’s KSDK. “I knew if I gave him a bunch of tickets and towed his car, it would be tough to recover from.”
Days after the traffic stop, Baldwin learned that he had been hired as a package handler at the local facility and quickly took to Facebook to share the good news and thank the officer for his assistance.
Along with his new job at FedEx, Baldwin also works at McDonald’s, which is a 90-minute bus commute from his home. He plans to use the income from his jobs to help get a valid driver’s license, buy a car and, eventually, a home.
As news of the heartwarming encounter went viral on social media, Frencella Jackson, assistant to Cahokia Mayor Curtis McCall Jr., took to Facebook to applaud Gemoules.
Baldwin says the encounter changed how he views police. “I never looked at police in a negative manner or in a positive manner,” he said. “I never looked at them in any manner. But this just made me give them more respect than I did before.”