MESA, Ariz. - Tavia Warner and Mesa police officer Brandon Lavin will probably never take a casual stroll for granted ever again.
"You want to put me over your shoulder again?" Warner asked as the two, new friends strolled outside her Mesa office. "No!" Detective Lavin said trying not to laugh.
The two can laugh about it now, but at the end of February, that's exactly what brought them together along a central Mesa street. And on that day, it was anything but a laughing matter.
It was the morning of the annual Mesa-Phoenix Marathon. Hundreds of runners were making their way through central Mesa — and creating traffic issues for workers, like Warner, a social services counselor for Community Health Services.
"It poses a tiny bit of a challenge, and that's the parking," Warner said. "Our parking lot gets closed off."
Warner downplays another challenge she lives with, Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
"You know, my legs just give out," she explained.
On the day of the race, Warner decided to park near the intersection of Brown and Mesa Roads. It's about a mile from from her office near University and Mesa.
Just before 9 a.m., she started what would soon become a long, difficult walk. Officer Lavin was a few blocks down the road on traffic detail.
"I saw a woman fall around 700 North Mesa Drive," Lavin recalled. "I walked over to see if she needed assistance."
The woman was Tavia Warner, struggling to keep her feet, anxious to get to work.
Officer Lavin says getting his patrol car or a golf cart through all the race traffic was not possible, so he did the next best thing.
He asked her, "Can I just throw you over my shoulder, and take you to work?" Warner said "Yes!"
He gathered up her belongings, and the pair slowly made their way south on Mesa Road for about a half mile. Warner says the officer didn't leave her in the parking lot, either.
"He took me all the way to my office--in the building!" she announced.
Lavin says he just did what came naturally as an 11-year police veteran. Warner, two weeks later, is still astonished by his random act of kindness.
"He picked me up like I was an empty backpack," Warner said. "This man is very strong."
Strong, and very humble — and another shining example of the men and women who serve and protect the community every day across the greater Phoenix-area.
In addition to an immense amount of gratitude for what Officer Lavin did for her that morning, Warner says she also bestowed upon him a new nickname, too: Detective Atlas.