Emotional letter thanks APD officer for his kindness that came at crucial time

A senior is hailing an Atlanta police officer as "her angel," after Officer Bennie Hardeman helped her get to safety during car troubles.

He later learned the importance of the timing of his kindness.

Hardeman showed FOX 5’s Emilie Ikeda the card from the driver’s family and called moments like this "the most memorable" in his career.

"I wanted to express my sincerest appreciation for you helping my mother," the opening line read.

Hardeman received the note shortly after he helped a senior stuck on a busy roadway in Midtown when her car broke down.

His patience, generosity, and kindness on that chilly December day did not go unnoticed.

The woman’s daughter penned, "She felt like you were her angel."

Body camera video revealed his warm demeanor, helping her get to a safe area, calling a tow truck, and staying by her side until family arrived to take her home.

"You have some good driving skills, I can say that," Hardeman said, lightening the mood as she parked. "Pretty precise!"

At one point, the driver commented: "What’s coming up next for me might be worse than COVID." Hardeman replied, "Yes ma’am, I understand."

And he really did understand.

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Hardeman suspected the driver may be a cancer patient based on her bandages and bracelet.

The letter later confirmed, "She had just came from chemotherapy and was on her way home when her car had died."

Such treatment is, unfortunately, something he’s all too familiar with. His own grandmother lost her battle to cancer.

Officer Hardeman embraces his grandmother, who has since passed.

He uses references like that to guide his interactions, treating citizens in need of aid, as if they are his family.

"Once they got the tow truck out on scene, I didn’t care how long it took, I was spending my time with her," Hardeman said. "I told her I had all the time of the day because really, like I said before, it touched my soul," Hardeman said.

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Hardeman also learned the woman that he helped has Atlanta police in her blood. Her own father reportedly served with APD after WWII.

Hardeman said he hasn’t been able to get ahold of the driver since receiving that letter but is hopeful they’ll eventually reconnect.