Simon was in disbelief. After dedicating two decades of his life to his community, these days, all he got in return was disdain.
As he stood watching the man’s face contorted with anger. With was so much venom in his words that Simon began to question if it was even safe to be there.
The son of a decorated cop, Simon Mellor’s career in law enforcement was preordained. Short but stocky and well built, Simon joined the academy at 22 and rose swiftly.
A chip off the old block, he seemed destined to eclipse his father’s stellar record at the Virginia PD. His path had been smooth, but in 2008, Simon encountered a sudden and painful obstacle.
Despite all the nights apart when he had to work, Simon’s father, Don Mellor, had always been his hero. A stalwart in the local community, he had been lauded for his kindness, bravery, and countless successes.
Nearing the end of a fantastic career, Don Mellor encountered a tricky situation as he left a convenience store after a late-night shift.
While intervening during an apparent scuffle, Simon’s father sadly took a bullet to the hip. He had tried to help a youth seemingly in trouble.
Don had no idea that he had stumbled across an initiation ritual. An abrupt end to a glittering career, Simon was determined to fight back on his father’s behalf.
The precinct area had so many impoverished and disaffected youth. Simon recognized that many were being lured into a life of gangsterism.
Given what his father had experienced, many of Simon’s colleagues grew angry and vengeful. Simon himself realized a more effective way of dealing with the local syndicates.
Rather than allow hatred and anger to fester, Simon chose to fight the plague of “crews” working the area with kindness instead. A family man, Simon was passionate about the community.
Going beyond the call of duty, He set about trying to bring lasting change. He was not prepared for the difficulty and pushback he would face.
As a child growing up, Simon was accustomed to cops being heroes to little kids. Now, as a father of two himself, he had expected the same.
What he found instead was a different generation. Historical tensions had led to a fractured relationship between the community and local authorities. Simon vowed to change this.
With the relationship between the Virginia PD and community members at an all-time low, Simon refused to give up. He faced a barrage of criticism from both sides.
Unfazed, Simon rallied local businesses and community leaders to take action against gangsterism. Despite his efforts and pure intentions, he was a target on both sides.
Through a partnership between local law enforcement and community businesses, he helped build a youth center. Young kids now had an alternative place to spend their free time.
There was now less opportunity for them to be negatively influenced. It should have been an enormous victory. Instead, Simon learned that some people refused to change their attitudes.
Simon was off duty one afternoon and out to grab a bite. As he approached a local Mcdonald’s drive-thru, the cashier at the window gave him a stern look.
The cashier was visibly upset and refused to serve him, passing derogatory comments about cops in the process. Simon was shocked and angry but recognized something familiar about the man.
Tension was rising in the community once again. Simon noticed the cashier glancing at the Virginia PD sticker on his family vehicle. He understood now.
His attitude angered Simon. About to react, he recognized something oddly familiar about the cashier and drove off instead. He could not let this go now and vowed to return the next day.
Informing the store’s manager about the incident in advance, Simon returned to the store the next day. This time he was in full uniform. Unknown to the cashier, Simon had recognized him.
Older now, it was the same youth whose actions had ended his father’s. Simon knew his plan would have consequences, but he was determined to follow through.
The famous yellow arches of the store seemed to gleam more today as Simon entered. The manager was deeply apologetic and scrambled to show her support to Simon.
Simon said he wanted to talk to him personally. The manager informed him that the cashier was dismissed for his actions. He was not pleased.
The manager was confused as he thought Simon would be pleased to hear this. He explained that 24-year-old Jamal Wallace had been a youth offender and had spent time in juvenile centers.
He was given a work opportunity, but this was not the first time he displayed animosity towards an officer.
Simon tracked down the cashier, and the pair spoke openly. Simon saw an opportunity for him and Jamal to both heal past resentments.
Facing criticism, Simon got him a job at the youth center. Today, Jamal works with authorities, guiding vulnerable youths onto better paths. Simon proved that in a world so deeply divided—peaceful coexistence is still possible.