AUSTIN (KXAN) — A mother and her children are feeling a sense of hope after a chance encounter with an Austin police officer.
Both parties crossed paths along a stretch of Research Boulevard two days ago. Officer Jason Borne was sent out to a call of a person walking in the road. He responded, unsure of what he would find.
When he pulled up to the scene, he found Lisa Medinnus and her 2-year-old daughter Hannah in the right lane walking down the road.
“I saw her from behind walking down the frontage road and my first thought was, ‘oh my God, what are you doing,'” officer Borne said.
The 39-year-old Medinnus was pushing Hannah along in a stroller from the dentist to the grocery store, only then to walk miles back home. Officer Borne couldn’t help but ask why the family was getting around this way.
That’s when Medinnus opened up. She told Borne her car broke down, she had no job, couldn’t afford day care and was barely staying afloat. “Many years ago I was at a point in my life where I thought really there was no point in me being here and I actually did attempt suicide and I genuinely thought no one cares,” she said.
Borne drove Medinnus to a nearby H-E-B and asked if it was all right for him to give her his family’s off-road stroller so she could travel on grass instead of the streets.
Medinnus was caught off guard, feeling there was a catch. There wasn’t. “No one is like that — expect for maybe him,” Medinnus said.
She couldn’t believe someone was being so kind while asking nothing in return. Her life was filled with memories of pain and struggle. Leaving Colorado for Austin just over a year ago, she arrived with nothing but her children and a bachelor’s degree in computer science. She wanted a change of scenery and made the move expecting to find a tech job in no time.
No luck. What’s followed is more than a year scraping together enough money to put food on the table, stress and a lack of hope in humanity. Borne could tell Lisa needed help, even though she wasn’t asking for it.
Officer Borne has set up a GoFundMe account for Medinnus and her kids. His hope is to give her a hand up. As of Thursday evening the campaign has raised more than $6,000.
“That changes my life around, it changes her life around, it changes my son’s life around. It changes everything,” Medinnus said.
“I think the fact that a stranger is doing it is kind of blowing her mind,” Borne said.
Medinnus sees better days ahead now. With money to afford day care, she’s on a mission to get a working car, and find stable work. Officer Borne believes Medinnus has the will and work ethic to persevere.
“I hope that I come across her in five years and she’s driving a BMW,” he said. “I hope that 3-year-old is now eight and in the back seat beaming in new clothes and everything else. That would be awesome.”
This isn’t the only time Officer Borne has gone above and beyond to help someone. He’s the same officer who also started a GoFundMe for an Austin teenager he saw trying to change a tire on the side of MoPac earlier this year.
Weeks after starting that campaign, Officer Borne surprised Cody Morgan with a new car to help him get around and start college at Texas A&M this fall.