An officer from the Atlanta Police Department developed a bond with a homeless man that began before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Melina Lim, 25, was on her daily routine of checking up on businesses around northwest Atlanta shortly before the pandemic hit, when she saw Jawee Bilal Faheem, 61, who goes by the name “Doc,” holding a sign on the side of the road, according to 11Alive.
(To view the video below, you must click on the YouTube link and watch through the social media platform.)
“He wasn’t begging for any money or anything. He was just smiling, holding a sign, waving at everyone,” Lim said. “And so, I went to go grab my lunch and I decided, ‘Hey, I’m going to get two lunches today.’”
When they first met, Doc said he thought she was going to take him to jail.
“I remember that I was afraid. But she quickly eases the relationship and basically says, ‘What do you need?’” Doc said.
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Lim listened to some of Doc’s story. He told the officer he lost his well-paying jobs in the past because of his addiction to drugs and alcohol.
Over the years, Lim brought him food and clothes, but Doc says their bond is more about their daily chats and support for each other.
During the country-wide protests following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, Lim made sure Doc was safe while working long shifts. She also brought him a Black Lives Matter shirt.
“He is very pro BLM, and I was able to get him a special shirt that said, ‘BLM,’ ‘Black Lives Matter,” the Atlanta officer said.
“I knew the community was hurting. I knew that their trust was broken with us,” Lim added. “The main reason I got into this job was to connect those ties with the community — that we’re not always the enemy.”
The concern was later reciprocated when anti-Asian violence began to rise, particularly after the tragic shooting in Atlanta in March.
“I hate that we have a lot of people that are so one-sided and narrow,” Doc said. “Asian Americans, right now, are being picked on and a lot of violent things are happening.”
He became emotional as he looked to Lim and said, “I was just hoping that nothing would happen to you.”
Lim’s friendship with Doc taught her a lot of things, she said.
“It’s taught me that everybody has a story that they’re going through. And it just takes one person to listen.”
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