OAKLAND, Calif. - A chance meeting on E. street in East Oakland has forever changed the lives of an Oakland family and a police officer.
"The mother took the initiative to call me over while I was doing something else and asked me could you just spend a few minutes," said Oakland Police Officer Ira E. Anderson.
"Before Ira, I tell you there were a lot of things they saw negative about police officers," said Nakenya Karim of Oakland.
That was nearly a year ago. Since then Anderson has adopted Karim's family, taking some of the children on outings including their first visit to the beach.
But in August, the family had a setback. "Things have been a little tough for us because we had to move out where we were because of the high rents," said Karim.
The family of 8 voluntarily packed up their belongings and moved into a camper. A few months later yet another hardship. "We've been without a vehicle for almost six months, said Karim's husband Islam. "It takes a lot to take care of six kids. So everything we have goes into the children. I was trying to save up for another vehicle," said Karim.
However, now they don't have to thanks to the kindness of Anderson and Auto Plus Towing. The company he contacted when he was looking to help the family buy a vehicle. The owners of the towing company were so touched. They decided to not only fix up the vehicle but give it to the family with no strings attached.
"I grew up in the projects of San Francisco Hunters Point and I've seen both sides of the fence and any given moment you can be on the other side of the fence on the receiving end," said Auto Plus Towing manager Donnie Robinson.
The Karim family are now the proud owners of a 2015 Dodge Caravan. Anderson and the towing company owner said simple acts of kindness are what people should do for one another.
Through tears of joy, Anderson said he's only doing what he was taught. From the man who his mother named him after. "He used to take care of us and help us out. My mother didn't have a lot. So he would come around and help us, says Anderson. That gesture has forever stayed with Anderson. He said helping the Karim family is his way of paying it forward.
"We just need to give each other the time of day. We're all human beings. We're all in the struggle we can all help each other," said Anderson.
"This is true community policing. We need a community that loves their police and we need police that loves their community," said Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick.
Auto Plus Towing is taking care of the entire bill for the vehicle including the registration. The family should have their vehicle in time for the weekend.