HEARD COUNTY, GA -- A video of a seemingly routine stop in Heard County has now been viewed tens of thousands of times -- a video of a sheriff’s deputy praying with the father of a person he’d just stopped.
Heard County is on the Georgia-Alabama border, and holds just 10,000 people. A meeting between two of those people has gone viral, when it could have easily gone far worse.
"I'm not out and about this time of day," said Deputy Brandon Wiggins.
Wiggins is not normally on duty during the daylight hours. He normally works the night shift as a Heard County Sheriff's Deputy -- and last Friday night brought this --
"When you have a vehicle stopped, not many people are gonna pull up on a traffic stop and get out and approach you," he said.
Deputy Wiggins pulled over a driver who had run a stop sign. He ran the man’s license, and then two other cars pulled up. And an older man walked out.
"My heart was pounding, and -- it’s an adrenaline rush -- 'cause you have no clue what their intentions are when they get out of that vehicle," he said.
He could see the man’s hands, but --
"My life was in danger," he said. "If they decided to fight me, or wanted to try to do worse to me, it was three-on-one."
But once they began talking, the situation quickly became cordial.
"That's my boy, checking to make sure everything's okay."
"We were visiting my daddy. He's up in the hospital with a stroke."
It even ended with the older man asking the deputy to join him in a prayer.
"It brought me to tears," Wiggins said. "I've watched the video, probably a thousand times, and it’s still hard to believe."
Thousands have now watched Wiggins’ video on Facebook. But talking today, he still cautioned people against following that older man’s lead.
"Every officer goes through training, and every officer’s gonna react," he said. "It's just like anybody else. If you're feeling fear, you're gonna do certain things. It's a scary thing. I'm glad it ended the way it did."
Deputy Wiggins let the younger man off with a warning. He had already done so when the older man pulled up.