When Staff Sgt. Mark Horsley went undercover as a homeless man in a wheelchair, he had no idea what he might encounter.
After a couple of attacks on wheelchair victims, who were robbed and assaulted in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, the police department launched an investigation.
Sgt. Horsley went undercover in an effort to catch criminals in the act. As part of his cover, Horsley told strangers that he was paralyzed, suffered a brain injury, and that he was unable to count.
Horsley thought people would try to take advantage of his made-up vulnerabilities, but in each exchange, people showed compassion. One man even stopped to pray with him.
The officer was particularly surprised when it came to matters of money. In one case, a lady asked for change for a five dollar bill and took the exact amount of change. In another instance, a man zipped Horsley’s pouch to prevent his money from showing or falling out.
When the assignment was over Horsley had almost $25 more than the amount he started with. “Not one person short-changed me. Not one person took advantage of my vulnerability,” Horsley said. “This community has soul.”
The kindness of these strangers has Horsley excited about the state of humanity. “The generosity, the caring was inspiring,” Horsley said.