Friendship Between Atlanta Police Officer and Homeless Man Inspires Hope
Officer Melina Lim and her friend Doc have each other’s backs.
In these divisive times, the unlikely bond between an Asian-American police officer and a homeless black man has emerged as a symbol of hope.
We recently learned about 25-year-old Atlanta Police officer Melina Lim and her 61-year-old friend Jawee Bilal Faheem, A.K.A. "Doc," via CNN's Natasha Chen. In her New Day segment from April 23, the pair recounted how their chance meeting blossomed into a friendship that has become a source of strength for them both.
Their story begins shortly before the pandemic, when, driving past him on the side of the road, Lim noticed Doc's sign.
"He wasn't begging for any money or anything. He was just smiling, holding a sign, waving at everyone," she told CNN. "And so, I went to go grab my lunch and I decided, 'Hey, I'm going to get two lunches today.'"
As Lim approached, Doc, a man who credits his life on the streets to his drinking and drug addictions, wondered if there was a warrant out for his arrest. He feared she was there to take him to jail.
"I remember that I was afraid. But she quickly eases the relationship and basically says, 'What do you need?'" he recalled to CNN.
For more than a year, Lim has checked in on Doc nearly every day, bringing him clothes and food. In May, when the murder of George Floyd prompted major protests in Atlanta, she ignored the tension and did what she could to keep him safe.
"I knew the community was hurting. I knew that their trust was broken with us," Lim said. "The main reason I got into this job was to connect those ties with the community—that we're not always the enemy."
A few months later, a rise in anti-Asian attacks, made Doc concerned for Lim.
"I hate that we have a lot of people that are so one-sided and narrow. Asian Americans, right now, are being picked on and I was just hoping that nothing would happen to you," he told his friend.
Even though she's the one wearing the badge, Lim said she's learned a lot from her friend Doc.
"It's taught me patience, it's taught me compassion," she told CNN. "It's taught me that everybody has a story that they're going through. And it just takes one person to listen."
We think there's something all of us could learn from these sweet friends.