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Police went undercover to catch criminals. Their failure was inspiring.

He went looking for the worst in humanity. Instead, he found the best.

Police went undercover to catch criminals. Their failure was inspiring.

After two robberies of wheelchair-bound people that were carried out at knifepoint, a Vancouver police officer went undercover as a paralyzed man in a wheelchair.

Staff Sgt. Mark Horsley took on the role of a paralyzed person with a brain injury who was confined to a wheelchair.


Dubbed Operation Wheelchair by the police department, the goal was to find the person or people responsible for victimizing folks who were more vulnerable because of their disabilities.

The officer expected people to take advantage of him or maybe even rob him. But that's not what happened.

Not even close.

Instead, he got to know other members of the community who use wheelchairs.

A young man asked if he could pray for the undercover officer.

Another stopped to chat with the officer about his own mother who was in a wheelchair. During the encounter, the man reached out toward the officer's waist pouch, where some of his money was sticking out.

But get this: He wasn't trying to steal it. The man instead zipped it up and kindly warned the officer to be careful not to lose his money.

Much to his surprise, instead of being victimized, he saw repeated displays of human kindness. And it didn't end there.

The officer also told anyone he interacted with that he couldn't count.

That gave people who purchased things from him — or in one case where a woman asked him for change for a $5 bill — an opportunity to be dishonest.

But nobody was. Instead, at the end of the operation, the officer had $24.75 more than he started with.

People chose to give rather than steal.

We usually see news stories about people doing bad things, but those aren't the only stories.

The reality is that there are lot of kind people in the world who treat others with respect and consideration.

That may not be 5 o'clock newsworthy, but it's worth remembering and sharing.

As Horsley said:

"Not one person took advantage of my vulnerability... . The caring and compassion expressed to me in my undercover role was inspiring."

You can watch the Vancouver Police Department's video summary of their operation for a quick reminder that there are lots of decent people everywhere.

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When Molly Reeser was a student at Michigan State University, she took a job mucking horse stalls to help pay for classes. While she was there, she met a 10-year-old girl named Casey, who was being treated for cancer, and — because both were animal lovers — they became fast friends.

Two years later, Casey died of cancer.

"Everyone at the barn wanted to do something to honor her memory," Molly remembers. A lot of suggestions were thrown out, but Molly knew that there was a bigger, more enduring way to do it.

"I saw firsthand how horses helped Casey and her family escape from the difficult and terrifying times they were enduring. I knew that there must be other families who could benefit from horses in the way she and her family had."

Molly approached the barn owners and asked if they would be open to letting her hold a one-day event. She wanted to bring pediatric cancer patients to the farm, where they could enjoy the horses and peaceful setting. They agreed, and with the help of her closest friends and the "emergency" credit card her parents had given her, Molly created her first Camp Casey. She worked with the local hospital where Casey had been a patient and invited 20 patients, their siblings and their parents.

The event was a huge success — and it was originally meant to be just that: a one-day thing. But, Molly says, "I believe Casey had other plans."

One week after the event, Molly received a letter from a five-year-old boy who had brain cancer. He had been at Camp Casey and said it was "the best day of his life."

"[After that], I knew that we had to pull it off again," Molly says. And they did. Every month for the next few years, they threw a Camp Casey. And when Molly graduated, she did the most terrifying thing she had ever done and told her parents that she would be waitressing for a year to see if it might be possible to turn Camp Casey into an actual nonprofit organization. That year of waitressing turned into six, but in the end she was able to pull it off: by 2010, Camp Casey became a non-profit with a paid staff.

"I am grateful for all the ways I've experienced good luck in my life and, therefore, I believe I have a responsibility to give back. It brings me tremendous joy to see people, animals, or things coming together to create goodness in a world that can often be filled with hardships."

Camp Casey serves 1500 children under the age of 18 each year in Michigan. "The organization looks different than when it started," Molly says. "We now operate four cost-free programs that bring accessible horseback riding and recreational services to children with cancer, sickle cell disease, and other life-threatening illnesses."

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