GASTONIA, NC (WBTV) - It's not every day a police officer gets a 'thank you' note from a person he once had in handcuffs. But Gastonia Police Officer Jarod Ewers got one from a man he hauled to jail in January.
Ewers responded to a call of a motor vehicle accident in a parking lot off Franklin Boulevard on January 18. A mini-van had a minor fender-bender with a parked car.
Police say the man driving the van was acting strange and erratic.
"Fearing that he may have a weapon, we pulled him out of his van, put him on the ground and placed him in handcuffs," Ewers said.
Officers thought Andrew Michalak was on drugs. Ewers put the man in his patrol car and took him to jail.
"As we were pulling up in the jail, he just went from being so out of it, to being perfectly normal," Ewers said.
Michalak told the officer he'd been having seizures recently.
Once inside the magistrate's office, Ewers realized, the man didn't need a jail cell, he needed a doctor.
"I love that man," Michalak said referring to the officer that arrested him, "If it wasn't for him, I don't know where I'd be right now."
Officer Ewers drove Michalak to the hospital. Two weeks later, doctors determined his seizures were being caused by Stage Four lung cancer that spread to his brain. But you won't find a man crying about his terminal diagnosis. Instead, Michalak is singing the praises of the man he believes helped speed up his diagnosis.
"I'm on my treatments now, and actually getting treated for something I wouldn't have known I had if it weren't for him," Michalak said.
While he's grateful for the officer that took him to jail, that same officer says he's more grateful to have met Michalak.
"Just to have something so traumatic happen and then have the faith that he has… He's actually saved my life more than anything on that. I can tell you that," Ewers said.
The two men are bonded now, once by an arrest, now by friendship.