BELMONT, N.C. (WBTV) - Dominique Isles brought her three-year-old Princeton Ballen to a march in Belmont over the weekend.
“I wanted my son to hopefully be a part of the change,” Isles said. “Hopefully, be a part of the last protest, the last march, the one that makes a difference.”
What she did not expect to happen there was for the toddler to make a new friend in Captain Jason Davis.
“I put my hand on his shoulder, and I said, ‘Hey little man, how are you?’” Davis said.
Isles said Princeton was tired, hot and ready to go home until he met Captain Davis.
“He reached his hand out to me. It was an overwhelming sign of trust to me,” Davis said.
“He has no idea what comes with being a brown boy yet,” Isles says. “But in that moment, he had made a new friend and that’s all that mattered to him.”
Princeton held Captain Davis' hand until the end of the march.
“There was even a point where the officer picked him up and held him so he could be a part of it and finish it strong,” Isles said.
Monday, the two met for a reunion at the Belmont Police Department.
Princeton painted a picture frame for Captain Davis, which holds a photo of the pair hand-in-hand.
"Did you make this for me?'" the captain asked the toddler. "We did great yesterday!"
Captain Davis gave Princeton a bag of toys, including a bouncy ball, a bracelet, crayons, and a paper police hat. The two also exchanged their names, for the first time.
"There's no greater feeling for me," Davis says.
Princeton got a little practice playing with sirens on a police truck, then the group headed into downtown Belmont, for a surprise. Captain Davis had made Princeton and his mom a promise after the march, on social media - he would treat them to ice cream.
"This officer is one of the good guys, and I'm pretty sure there's a lot of the good guys," Isles says. "It made me feel like we mattered, and that's funny, because that's what this is all about. It was special."
Several other Belmont officers joined the family at Belmont’s Specialty Food for a soft-serve cone.
“It’s up to us to do things, to have those conversations, and let people know we are worthy of their trust,” Captain Davis said.
“I felt safe, I was like, ‘Thank you,’” Isles said. “It was unlike anything I’d ever experienced.”