For more than a year, Sgt. Scott Bass watched the woman make a slow trudge to work — 6 miles each way.
From his patrol car, he’d see her on the country roads before dawn, walking two hours to her job at Bojangles’ in Nashville, where she’d start serving biscuits and coffee at 5 a.m.
So one day, the Nash County deputy pulled over and offered her a ride, which became a habit for more than a year, until he reached an urgent conclusion.
Jalesya Corbett needed a bike.
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So on Monday, Bass drove to Corbett’s mobile home park on the edge of Rocky Mount with a surprise in his car. At first, Corbett thought she was in trouble. Then she saw the brand-new Schwinn.
“I’ve seen her walk in the rain,” Bass said. “I’ve seen her walk when ice had just been cleared off the road. Then she’s got to stand on her feet all those hours. When you have somebody that is honest and is working, any little thing could help them out.”
Bass arranged for Corbett’s bike through a Walmart in Nashville, where store manager Iris Pearce agreed to donate the Schwinn to ease Corbett’s 12-mile round trip, according to a press release from the sheriff.
The reason for Corbett’s daily half-marathon across Nash County: She didn’t realize the Nashville Bojangles’ was so far when she applied, and she wanted to keep the job once the fast-food chain hired her.
But Bass said the Rocky Mount restaurant wouldn’t be much closer.
“I was truly humbled by Sgt. Bass’ efforts when he asked if it was OK to help Jalesya,” said Chief Deputy Brandon Medina, “and to see the happiness and joy he brought to her.”
As for Corbett, Bass said she could use a helmet and safety vest, but the bike shaved her commute in half.
“I was shocked,” Corbett told ABC11, The News & Observer’s media partner. “I didn’t think it was real.”
Be careful on the road from Rocky Mount to Nashville. A new rider is pedaling the way.