It was an ordinary day on the job for Officer Tyson Nichols, a member of the Rock Island Police Department in Illinois. It was a hot September afternoon, and he was driving around the neighborhood in his patrol car, keeping an eye out for any incidents that might need his attention.
For Nichols, it was often a thankless job—but one he loved, because it meant serving his community and helping others in need.
That day he received an unusual call—one that would inadvertently put him in the spotlight.
He was called to 31st street, where a woman said she needed help with her wheelchair.
When Nichols arrived on the scene, he discovered that the woman was in a motorized wheelchair—which had malfunctioned at the worst possible moment.
“She had [taken] the wrong bus, she needed to get to a doctors appointment, and her wheelchair was not functioning,” Nichols recalled to WQAD.
Nichols helped her out by contacting the local bus system to find the right bus that could take her to her appointment. However, the bus stop was up the hill—and he couldn’t leave the stranded, immobile woman in the hot sun, either.
The only solution—push the wheelchair himself.
It wasn’t an easy task. The chair wasn’t meant to be pushed manually, and he was doing it uphill in the scorching heat.
But for Nichols, it was all just part of his duty.
“It kinda comes naturally with the territory as a police officer, you naturally, instinctively do things that you’re supposed to be doing,” he told WQAD.
Little did he know, a neighbor saw the whole thing—and snapped a photo.
The anonymous bystander was impressed by the officer’s behavior—and decided to text the photo to the Rock Island Police Department, saying she wanted to “give recognition to the department and this officer for showing genuine concern and care for the community.”
The department was touched to receive the recognition, and posted a screenshot to their Facebook page, saying “We are always pleased to hear from citizens who appreciate the work our officers do on a daily basis.”
People in the community were moved as well, and the post has been shared over 100 times.
Officer Nichols was surprised by the attention—but welcomed it.
“It was a nice little feeling,” he told WQAD.
“Somebody recognized us and was able to turn it into the police department and give us some positive recognition.”