In memoriam of the police officer shootings that took place in Dallas on July 7, 2016, Barb Osborne gave Cpl. Tank Douglas a hand painted thin blue line flag to honor his friends who were killed in the shooting.
Douglas, who now works for the Corinth Police Department, and Osborne met on Father’s Day last year. Douglas stopped Osborne for speeding on her way back from Walmart.
“I'm a big guy, so I always try to be extra nice because I can be a bit intimidating,” Douglas said. “I'm a big old softie. As I came to her car, I asked for her driver's license, and I knew right then and there something was wrong with her. I stopped for a second, and I was like, 'is everything OK?' She said yes, but I could tell something was wrong. It took me a second, but I just told her, 'ma'am, if you need to talk, I'm here if you want to talk.’”
Osborne said she did not realize she was speeding until after she was stopped by Douglas.
“I was having a really, really hard day,” Osborne said. “My son had passed away four years ago with cancer. He was 45 years old, and we were very, very close, and holidays were really hard to get through without him. I was having a really hard time. (Douglas) got my license, and I had the wrong insurance card. It just seemed like everything was messed up, and he just stopped. I think he sort of evaluated. He went back to his car and evaluated the situation, and he came back. He was so kind.”
When Douglas came back to the car, he decided to not write her a ticket. Osborne began opening up about the passing of her son.
“I knew what she was going through because I was dealing with the same kind of thing this time around last year, so I can sympathize with her 100 percent,” Douglas said.
Soon after their first encounter, Osborne decided to bake Douglas a batch of chocolate chip cookies as a thank you. She delivered the cookies to Douglas at the police station.
“I don't know how she knew, but cookies are the way to my heart,” Douglas said with a laugh. “My mom used to call me cookie monster when I was a kid. You can have the cake, you can have the candy, but if you have homemade cookies, that's the key to my heart right there.”
Over the past year, Osborne regularly brought homemade cookies to Douglas. As July 7 approached, Osborne wanted to give Douglas something special to honor his friends involved in the 2016 Dallas shooting. Following a peaceful protest in Dallas, Micah Xavier Johnson shot and killed Senior Cpl. Lorne Ahrens, Officer Michael Krol, Sgt. Michael J. Smith and Officer Patrick Zamarripa of the Dallas Police Department and DART Police Officer Brent Thompson.
“She came in with a hand-made gift,” Douglas said. “It was a tribute to July 7. When she brought it in, I almost broke down crying because that was the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me. Especially because she understood that we were on the same level of pain dealing with the loss of her son and the loss of my brothers down in Dallas. I love that woman to death. It was a very nice gesture considering the circumstances. Even yesterday, she texted me just to check up on me to see how I'm doing. I tell her all the time she's heaven sent.”
Douglas was close friends with the fallen officers who were killed on July 7.
“That's a hard one for me because I knew all of those guys,” Douglas said. “Lorne Ahrens was my classmate. We graduated together. We were very, very good friends. It's hard for me to talk about it, to be honest with you.”
In honor of Ahrens, Douglas got a tattoo of both Ahrens’ and his own badge number together.
“His badge number was 8193. Mine was 8168, so we were close,” Douglas said. “He was into skulls and stuff like that, so I had this tattoo as a tribute to him with a thin blue line running through it. It was crazy because right after that, I saw his wife at the time up at headquarters, and she got a little teary-eyed. She was like, 'that's pretty cool what you did,' so every time I look at that, I think of him. That's something that will always be with me. Just being involved in something like that will change your life. You spend eight months in the academy and become really close. You're brothers and sisters. We talked on a regular basis all the time, and he was just a good dude. Just a really good dude. My heart's still broken four years later. You think sometimes it gets easier, but it doesn't. It really doesn't. You just do the best you can to try and remember the good times, because we had a lot of good times.”