It's seldom that getting pulled over really leads to anything that you might think of as positive. The point of traffic stops, after all, is usually preventative: to stop something negative from happening rather than create a positive outcome.
But when Greg Barnes Jr. of Muncie, Ind., was pulled over for speeding by Indiana State Trooper Shawn Cosgrove, that's exactly what happened.
At the end of their encounter, Mr. Barnes asked Trooper Cosgrove to take a selfie with him. He obliged.
Mr. Barnes went home and posted the picture to his Facebook page with a reflection on the events that led up it and the interaction the two men shared.
"I was pulled over today for speeding," the post begins. "The officer did not know me nor did I know him, but we each showed one another a mutual display of respect in our interaction."
"He was doing his job, and I had made a mistake in trying to hurry home to get started moving that lead to our path's crossing. He ran my information, and in the end we talked more about how are individual days were going, and the situations and circumstances within our society that have lead to interactions such as he and I's to play out much more negatively, some even deadly, than ours, than we talked about the situation that lead to him pulling me over. In the end we both thanked each other for our mutual displays of respect and agreed to take a "selfie" together to help tell our story.
I can't stress enough that NO demographic and/or profession of people are all bad. Neither of us are the enemy. We can continue to fight against each other until we are literally "black and blue," or we can show one another the respect we inherently deserve, not as "black man" and "blue police officer," but as humans. None greater, none less ... #Respect."
When the post went viral, Mr. Barnes decided to use the momentum to do something for his community.
"We all are human," Barnes wrote in a post explaining what he hoped to accomplish, "let's treat each other as such."
"... if the post helps both parties (officer and civilian) enter into an interaction such as the one State Trooper Cosgrove and I entered, and allows them to see each other as we did, and prevents an altercation that can lead to the loss of life, then the good and the bad will all be worth it," he continued, adding, "I really want something good to come out of all of this. So here is the ask that I have for all of you. As you were probably made aware from the WISH-TV broadcast or other news outlets, the interaction took place in Muncie, IN. I was born and raised there, and learned a lot of my philosophies on life from my interactions at two particular youth centers. Those centers are the Muncie Boys & Girls Club (1710 S Madison St, Muncie, IN 47302), and the Roy C. Buley Community Center (1111 N Penn St, Muncie, IN 47303). I've had tons and tons of offers for free meals or drinks if I'm ever in the town that the offerer lives in, but I will never take any of you up on those offer. What I'd like to ask each of my friends or individuals who shared the post about the Trooper and I, as well as the individuals who post negative comments about myself or my family (put your money where your hate is), to donate $1 to each of those AMAZING organizations that help impact youth like I once was.
Two bucks a piece, and I guarantee we can make a change in the lives of our youths."
"Remember, the future cannot be bought, it can only be invested in. Invest in the future of our society."
To donate to the Muncie Boys & Girls Club and the Roy C. Buley Community Center through the Greg Barnes Jr. Inspiration Fund, visit GoFundMe.