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‘Can I pray for you?’: Teen encourages NC officer with heartfelt prayer

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Several weeks ago, a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer was sitting in his patrol car when a 16-year-old teen walked up to him.

Initially thinking the teen was approaching him to ask for directions, Officer Brad Potter was stunned at what next came out of the young man’s mouth.

He asked, “Can I pray for you?”

“To go up to a complete stranger and ask to pray for them, what an amazing act of pure kindness,” Officer Potter wrote in a Facebook post.

“We held hands and we prayed,” Turner said. “I prayed for him, for his safety and the safety of the other officers, and thanked them for what they do.”

Turner’s father is very proud and hopes his son will inspire others to do the right thing.

“A new wave of compassion on all sides,” Victor Turner told WSOC. “Not just from the community to officers, but officers to the community as well.”

Even with the post’s popularity, Caleb Turner has remained humble.

“I wasn’t expecting any of this. I just did it, just (because).”

On Tuesday, Officer Potter posted about the moment on his personal Facebook page. By Thursday, the Love What Matters Facebook page had picked the story up and it has since gone viral.

The Love What Matters post has more than 31,000 likes and 4,400 shares.

The entire post reads:

“I was sitting in my patrol car at my usual gas station working on some paperwork, when I saw Caleb walking over to me. I figured he was probably going to ask for directions (this gas station is right off an interstate, so it’s pretty common)… but he had a different request that floored me: Can I pray for you?’

To be honest, I was pretty stunned. It was not what I was expecting. I stammered out an ‘Of course.’ And I sat there, in a bit of awe at the heart of this young man. To go up to a complete stranger and ask to pray for them… what an amazing act of pure kindness.

And so I asked him, ‘How about we pray together?’ We clasped hands, and we prayed. We prayed for our safety, for the safety of my brothers and sisters in blue, and for the safety of our community.

Afterwards, I walked with Caleb over to his father, where we took this picture. I told his father that he had raised an incredible son, and he smiled that proud smile a parent loves to show off, saying simply ‘He does this kind of thing all the time.’ By this point, I wasn’t surprised.

Caleb and his father left, and I returned to service shortly thereafter when the next call came in in my area. But as the weeks have gone by, I simply cannot shake the impact that such a small gesture had on me.

It was a beautiful moment that showcased the best in humanity. Looking out for one another. Caring, and wanting to let someone know that you care. Friendship. Friendship at its finest, between two strangers.

I want to change the world, which is why I became a police officer in the first place. I know I can’t do it on my own, so I always strive to make my little corner of the world better for everyone in it, everyday. And it takes all of us doing that to make it happen everywhere.

It takes a world, to change the world.

And with people like Caleb out there in this world, I know we can do it.

I implore everyone, please take a lesson from this young man. Spread a little love around the world.

We are at our best when we open our arms, our hearts, and our minds to each other. We are at our best when we show compassion and care for each other. We are at our best when we show love for each other.

Connect. Respect. Protect. And Love.

Time to go keep the peace tonight.”