Teen walks 3 hours to work; South Dakota Highway Patrol gets him a new bike
"I think what got the traction on this is the fact that this kid is walking eight miles one way to work everyday," said Sergeant. Steve Swenson of the South Dakota Highway Patrol.
A simple act of kindness by a member of the South Dakota Highway Patrol has caught the attention of people across the country. A photo of a Sioux Falls teen being presented a refurbished bike has been shared 1,000 times in five short days.
Imagine walking three hours to work every day on the side of the interstate. That's what Tanner Romerein, 19, was doing until help came from somewhere he never expected.
"I found Tanner walking down the interstate and I pulled up to him and I just asked him what he was doing. And he said he was on his way to work, so I asked him to get in the car. He explained to me that he was coming from the Washington High School area and that he was heading to a location in Sioux Falls that was still several miles away," said Sgt. Swenson.
Little did Tanner know, on his daily trek across town, he would come to meet and form an unlikely bond with Sgt. Steve Swenson.
"I wasn't exactly expecting that, I was just thinking 'hey he's just going to stop me talk to me and then I can just continue'," said Tanner.
Scheels All Sports heard about Tanner's story and helped surprise him with a brand-new bike.
With much of his family in prison, Tanner says he hasn't had the best perception of law enforcement.
"Growing up I was told that if you see a cop, try to avert your eyes and walk away, pretty much. Now it's not exactly like that. It's like they're helpful," Tanner said.
Tanner hasn't had an easy life. What started as a part-time job quickly became a full-time job when his mother got sick and his sister got pregnant.
"She can't work. My sister can't work so I'm pretty much paying for the living expenses of three different people," Tanner said.
This bike signifies hope for Tanner.
South Dakota Highway Patrol Sgt. Swenson looks forward to staying connected and checking in on the teen in the future.