The people who garnered the most attention from the 10K Rodes City Run in Louisville on Saturday were not those who finished first and second; no, instead, it was third-to-last runner Asia Ford and Louisville Metro Police Lt. Aubrey Gregory who helped her reach the finish line.
Gregory approached Ford around the four-mile mark, who also had her son by her side, because he noticed she was having difficulty, and they all continued on together to the finish line. There, he released her arm — which she raised triumphantly — in a scene captured by photographer Jonathan Roberts. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer tweeted and shared the moment on Facebook, saying it was "what a compassionate city looks like."
What a compassionate city looks like: Lt. Aubrey Gregory helps Asia Ford cross finish line. Photo: Jonathan Roberts pic.twitter.com/1WL9lxY9Lj
— Mayor Greg Fischer (@louisvillemayor) March 21, 2015
On Facebook, Ford thanked Gregory after the race, adding that she had "messed up and forgot to eat this morning."
Photos of the event shared on social media sites had already been viewed millions of times by Sunday afternoon.
Of course, there's more to that story than just what happened in that beautiful moment. In terms of her health, Asia Ford has come a long way in the last two years. Once weighing nearly 500 pounds, exercise has helped the Kentucky woman shed over 200 pounds. She decided to do something when her husband at the time lost a limb to diabetes.
"That was when I woke up and realized that I couldn't allow them to be on this earth without my help, you know, and the only way I would be able to help them would be to help myself first," she told USA Today. So she started working out, joining a bootcamp.
After losing so much weight, Ford decided to take on what would probably be her biggest physical challenge to date: Louisville's 10K Rodes City Run. She's been training for months and was determined to finish the race. But with about two miles to go, Ford found herself struggling.
Cue the helping hand of a kind stranger. Or, as Ford referred to him on Facebook, her "angel."
She told him that she didn't want to stop, to which he reportedly responded: "Good, then we're going to do this together."
We'd like to thank both Gregory and Ford for our daily dose of faith-in-humanity-restoration.
(h/t USA Today)
Screengrab via Jonathan Roberts/Twitter