After coming across a woman pushing a stroller in the right lane of a frontage road alongside the highway, an Austin police officer is reaching out to help change her life.
The Austin Police Association posted a video that Officer Jason Borne shared on Facebook in which he recounted his meeting with the woman, Lisa Medinnus.
Medinnus said Borne pulled over and told her that she should not be walking on the frontage road.
"She pointed out there's no sidewalks in the area, which is a very fair point," Borne said. "It made even more sense when I looked down at the stroller. I have three kids - I've pushed my fair share of strollers - and when I saw those little plastic wheels, I knew how hard those would be to push through grass."
"He had a change of face and demeanor and it really went from warning me about the dangers of walking on the road to 'Okay, how can I help you out in your situation?'" Medinnus said.
Borne soon learned that Medinnus was down on her luck. Her car had broken down. She hadn't been able to get a job - and she was actually walking her daughter from the dentist to the grocery store.
She told Borne that she earned her degree in Colorado and moved to Austin with her children to find a job.
"That even kind of spoke to me. She's on such hard times, yet she's walking to take a 3-year-old with a mouthful of baby teeth that would be easy for a parent in her situation to ya know just kind of push off," Borne explained.
So he decided to help her out.
Borne set up a GoFundMe account and an email address for Medinnus. With the GoFundMe account, Borne is requesting donations to help her get back on her feet. Borne is asking people to send job tips to Medinnus to the email address email@example.com.
He said Medinnus is treading water to get by, relying on pay from contract jobs and what little child support she still receives.
Borne said he hopes the funds raised through the GoFundMe account will help her secure prepaid child care, save for a car and help with other bills while she gets back in the workforce.
In addition to setting up these accounts, Borne said he and his wife also offered to keep her children while she goes on interviews.
"To know that I'm going to be able to push forward and give [my daughter] and my son the life they deserve so that they don't have to go through the same thing again that I've had to go through, that makes everything worth it." Medinnus said through tears.
This is not the first time Borne has done something like this. Earlier this year, he set up a GoFundMe for a teen stranded on the side of the road, eventually helping him get a new car and go to college.