This summer, Fort Worth, Texas experienced sweltering temperatures topping 90 degrees during the month of June. The heat was hard for everybody to deal with, but for those without air conditioning, it was particularly brutal.
Ninety-five-year-old World War II veteran Julius Hatley was one of these residents without an escape from the burning heat. His air conditioner had broken and he was completely burning up.
Still, even at 95, he was doing everything he could to get by without help. He tried spending time perched in the shade of his porch for relief— but at one point, he just couldn’t take it anymore.
Not knowing what else to do about the excruciating heat, 95-year-old Hatley dialed up his local Forth Worth, Texas police department.
William Margolis, one of the officers on duty, told CBS News, “This wasn’t a regular 911 call.” He explained that for the police, Hatley’s request fell into their low priority queue. Still, Margolis and his partner Christopher Weir managed to squeeze in time for a visit.
“When we got there around 8:30 a.m,” Margolis told CBS News, “his house was 85 to 90 degrees already. In Texas, it gets hot.“
Margolis and Weir quickly discovered that both Hatley’s central air conditioning and window unit were broken, leaving the man to suffer alone without any respite.
The two men didn’t immediately have a solution to Hatley’s problem, but they promised they would figure it out. It didn’t take long, however, for Margolis to realize that he just couldn’t shake the image of the poor, old man out of his head; he requested that he and Weir make a pit stop at Home Depot, where they could buy Hatley a new air conditioner themselves.
While shopping, the officers described Hatley’s issue to the Home Depot employees, asking them which models were best suited to his needs. Touched by the men’s decision to buy the air conditioner themselves, the Home Depot employees also pitch in, donating $150 towards the cause.
Margolis and Weir recruited another officer, Steven Robrovich, to help them install the unit. And from there, they were off to the races.
Margolis told CBS News, “[Hatley] was actually really excited. He said he knew if he needed help to call 911, and we actually were able to help him, so he was really excited about that.”
The officers’ good deed earned them a fair bit of attention— as well as additional help for Hatley. Weir’s wife Jen told CBS News, “Since the story [first shared], we have all worked on getting his central air replaced, and a company came forward to do so, completely for free. We are currently working on getting his windows replaced, his house repainted, and groceries every week.”
In a Facebook post describing her husband’s interaction with Hatley, she passionately wrote, “This is what being an officer is about.”