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When a pair of Tampa Police Department officers helped Justine Bowen fix her broken-down car, that simple act of kindness meant much more than just replacing a busted radiator hose.
Bowen, 20, is seven months pregnant, and she not only needs her Ford Focus to get to doctor's appointments, her job at Busch Gardens and classes at the University of South Florida, but also to get her mother to work and her younger sister to and from school.
Which is why when her car broke down in a Wawa parking lot on Nov. 30, and officers Wendy Glaros and William B. Cain helped her, she took to Facebook to make sure everyone knew the extent of their generosity.
"I was a mess,'' Bowen told TODAY.com. "I was crying, and (Cain) saw I was obviously upset and distressed, but it's not like I gave them a sob story. It was them helping out of the kindness of their heart, and that's who they are."
To help Bowen get her car back running, Cain went to a nearby Autozone and bought a new hose while Glaros waited with Bowen in the parking lot.
Further, Bowen said that during the breakdown, she didn't have enough money at the time for the replacement hose. While Bowen had to wait until Friday for her paycheck, Cain paid for the hose from his own pocket, and then installed the new hose to get the car running again.
"They did it because they saw somebody alone and distressed who obviously had a problem, but there's way more going on than they knew,'' Bowen said. "This car means way more to my family than it does to some random person on the street, so them helping me was appreciated more than anything."
Bowen and her family are still recovering from the death of her father in May of 2013, which precipitated a move from New Jersey to Florida. During that time, the family also had a car repossessed, leaving them just one to get everyone around in.
"I just started working and getting on my feet,'' she said. "Everybody in my life knows where I'm at right now, but these cops did this not knowing that."
Bowen has uncles and other family members who are police officers, and she wanted to promote the good done by her local department. She also is putting together a holiday basket for the two officers.
"All the negative publicity that they get is crazy to me because they aren't bad people,'' she said. "Cops also do things out of their job description because of who they are, and I feel like stories like that are not common at all. I wanted them to get recognized for that they did."
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