Officer plays catch with teen, makes his day

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Nashville police officer saw something that caught his eye as he was driving through a neighborhood. It's not something that would have stopped many people, but his snap decision has now brought smiles to thousands of faces.

With the rain pouring down outside, what most people see is a wasted day. A day to play inside.

But that's the very opposite of the opportunity Caden Thieman sees. "If he's not sleeping, he's practicing football," his mother, Beth Cowherd, told WZTV.

"There's always a person trying to outwork you," said Caden.

To see opportunity where others see a complete washout is rare. It's as rare as the kindness Officer Calvin Graham showed to a young man most would have never turned around to meet.


"I was just patrolling in my zone ... and I saw a young lad that was throwing the ball up in the air, and he was alone. I wanted to be that person to assist him to say, 'I'll interact with you. I'll throw some catch with you,'" said Graham.

Caden's mom grabbed her camera in time to capture Graham taking time to play catch with her son.

Weather has never deterred Caden. He even works hard on his craft in 17-degree weather too. "I just want to help my family out, get them better things than they have. Just let them live life happy," he says.

Graham's kind of community patrol is what the city's recent study on policing recommended. Building relationships is invaluable. "I actually built a friend. Hopefully others will see this as 'Hey, we're all trying to do good things out here,'" said Graham.

"I'd just say thank you for coming out," said Caden. "It made my day, made my week."

Caden's goal is to play football in college. He's already a standout at safety.

Coincidentally, Graham has a son named Caden too.