Fort Myers, Florida — A lot of police officers go above and beyond — playing basketball with kids, mowing grass for seniors — we see examples on the news all the time. But few officers have gone further out of their way than Sergeant Jeff Turney of the Glendale, Arizona police department.
It started with a call to dispatch: "I have a 94-year-old father. He's loaded up a trailer and thinks he can drive his vehicle and the trailer to Florida. And I'd like to have somebody talk to him, if they could."
Police responded to the home of Howard Benson.
"I walked in the door and saw him sitting there and I said, 'We're not going to talk any sense into this guy,'" Sergeant Turney said.
It turns out there was no stopping him.
"I had my mind made up," Howard said. "I was going to do it."
Never mind that Howard has no business behind the wheel of anything other than his power chair. He was going to tow a trailer, 2,200 miles to his new assisted living facility in Fort Myers. Of course, his kids, who all live out of town, were insisting he fly and just ship his stuff.
"I'm stubborn," Howard said.
One way or another, Howard was going to Florida. When Sergeant Turney realized there was no talking sense into this guy, he decided to do something equally irrational.
He started by coming over after work to pack up that trailer. When Howard asked if this meant Sergeant Turney was also going to find someone to drive him to Florida, he said no.
"I said, 'No, Howard, I don't think I can get anybody to go with you, but how about I drive?'" Sergeant Turney said.
The next day they were off. Sergeant Turney requested vacation time to do this. Along the way, they talked, about everything from Howard's service in the Navy during World War II, to his anxiety about moving into assisted living.
When they arrived four days later, Sergeant Turney said he would stay until Howard felt comfortable in his new surroundings. He's fine, all thanks to the police officer who went way out of his way.
"As a person, though, you've gotta step up," he said.
"I've never seen a person so dedicated to helping people in my life. I can't thank that gentleman enough," Howard said.