As Darius Ellis waited at his front door, his heart was in his mouth. There he was, suited, booted and ready for prom, but he was still waiting on a ride. So when a cop pulled up outside the house, he couldn’t believe his eyes.
Darius Ellis comes from Lakeland, Florida. In early 2017 he was just a regular teen who attended Lakeland Senior High School and was in his senior year. And for him and his peers that meant only one thing was on their minds: prom.
During his time at school, Ellis had struck up an unlikely relationship with a local cop, Dagon Leach, who worked as a School Resource Officer on his campus. Most mornings, you could find the pair chatting away in the corridor.
Their topic of conversation was usually the same too. Both of them, it transpired, had a love of fast cars. And Ellis soon learned that Leach was the owner of a so-called “supercar” – something the student aspired to have when he was older.
One day, though, the topic of Ellis and Leach’s conversation changed, and the student opened up to the officer about a problem he was facing. Because, while all his friends were getting excited about prom, he didn’t know if he was going to make it.
Although Ellis was excited about the big night, he explained to Leach that he didn’t have any means of getting there, and he had nothing to wear. As a result, the prospect of missing prom had been playing on his mind.
Leach knew he had to do something to help the young man who he’d grown so fond of, so he offered to be Ellis’ chauffeur on prom night. And this meant the student could catch a ride in the cop’s beloved Nissan GT-R.
“Immediately in that moment, he is such a kind spirit, and such a kind-hearted kid, I knew I had to get him there,” Leach told ABC Action News in March 2017. “It was something I had to do to make sure he had a great night.”
Without stopping to think for even a second, Leach told Ellis, “I would be happy to take you.” And the schoolboy decided to take the police officer up on his offer. After all, who would turn down the opportunity to ride in a supercar?
After asking Ellis’ mom and grandma for permission, Leach arranged to give Ellis a ride on the night. Now all the teen needed was a snappy tuxedo to match his ride, so Officer Leach and Ellis’ teachers rallied together to pay for his evening wear.
And on March 11, 2017, Leach picked Ellis up in Lakeland to make the long journey to Orlando. However, they had plenty of fun along the way. The pair listened to music and even stopped to take photos of Ellis with his ride.
Of course, Ellis looked super dapper in the snaps, wearing a smart tuxedo with an orange bow tie and waistcoat. “I gotta look good for the ladies,” Ellis told ABC Action News.
But it wasn’t just Ellis who got a thrill out of the journey. “He is one of the most kind-hearted students I’ve ever met,” Leach revealed on the Lakeland PD Facebook page. “He is loved by everyone on campus and I was honored to drive him to the prom. Every kid should have the opportunity to attend their big night.”
Thanks to Leach, there’s little doubt that Ellis had a fantastic night at his prom. “I will never forget about him and I’ll never forget what he does for people,” Darius told ABC Action News. “You’re the best big brother I ever had.”
What’s more, Leach’s colleagues decided his friendship with Ellis was so inspiring that they shared their story on Facebook, and the heartwarming post subsequently went viral. Indeed, more than 1,400 people have liked the piece.
“Officer Leach has been a member of the LPD family for over eight years,” the post read. “We are very fortunate to have him on our team!” What’s more, it seemed like many members of the public agreed.
“I know both of these guys personally. I also know Officer Leach is a great person because he didn’t do this for the press, he did this because it was the right thing to do,” one commenter wrote. “This young man will never forget this night. This not only touched my heart, but made me believe in people again.”
Another user added, “Officer Dagon Leach is an amazing person and a phenomenal officer! He would do anything to help anyone and improve their quality of life. It does not surprise me to see/hear of a story such as this involving him.”
However, Leach appeared to be unaffected by all the kind comments he received. According to him, he was simply doing his job. “There’s more to law enforcement than just putting people in jail,” he told ABC Action News.
However, there’s no denying that Leach’s kind actions have won him plenty of friends, including Ellis. In fact, the teen is even considering a police career of his own. And if he’s anything like his mentor, he’s bound to become one of the best cops Lakeland has ever seen.