SAN DIEGO — It’s not every day you see a cop in full uniform challenge another man to a foot race.
Coach Joe Seals said he was going about his day Thursday, training young men from the nonprofit Work Ethic Basketball Academy when the cops showed up.
“We were out here getting ready, getting set up and a cop car pulled up. Just being frank and honest, my initial response was, ‘Uh oh, what did we do?'” he said.
They were working out on B Street downtown like they always do, running the hills. That’s when Officer Grant Huff got out of the patrol car and threw down the gauntlet.
“Spur of the moment, my partner said, ‘Hey, I bet my partner could beat one of your guys up the hill!’ Put me on the spot. So I was like all right, let’s do it,” Huff, a former personal trainer, said. “Luckily, one of the dads took up the challenge and not a kid.”
Coach Joe is a product of a program like Work Ethic Basketball Academy. He said he’s no basketball star but he knows firsthand the benefits of mentorship and an extended family.
“In our community where I grew up, when the police show up, we see it as, ‘OK what do we do, what’s wrong?'” he said. “But Officer Huff and his partner dispelled all of that and they got out and it was an act of kindness, an act of inclusion.”
He posted video of the encounter online and it quickly went viral. San Diego Police posted it to their feed and at last count it had more than 350,000 views.
“We just wanted to take an opportunity to interact with the community we serve. It’s always fun when we get a chance to do that,” Huff said. “It helps to demystify who we are and what we do, especially with younger kids.”