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Renewed hope: Student prays for cop’s safety in Florida restaurant

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A Florida Sheriff’s deputy has “renewed hope” in humanity after a chance encounter at a local eatery with a college student who surprised him.

Sergeant Cameron Tucker with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office in Florida was eating dinner with his wife over the weekend when they were approached by a young college student with an interesting request, Fox 35 reported.

(Video: Fox 35)

“He asked if he could take the time to pray over me,” Tucker told the news station. “I said ‘of course.’ I would never turn that down.”

The student, Juan O’Neil, was “compelled” to approach Tucker who was eating dinner at Zaxby’s in DeLand, asking his wife Janine if it would be alright if he prayed over her husband.

“Tonight is a night that I will never forget,” the deputy’s wife wrote to her followers on Facebook where she posted a photo of the moment.

“After crying my eyes out, we got to have an amazing conversation with this gentleman,” she added. “He was on FIRE for God and you could feel His presence in the room. He said that he had felt compelled to talk to us and to pray over Cameron.”

O’Neil admitted he “definitely wasn’t expecting” the incredible reaction the photo received, with over 24,000 shares and nearly 5,000 comments on Facebook.

“I just really did, like, feel compelled to like just go pray for him,” the Stetson University football player recounted to Fox 35.


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Ready for the junior season to come!!! #TheFlash

A post shared by Juan J O’Neal (@the_juan_and_only5) on

“I was just like, man, I just want to let him know that I truly appreciate him,” O’Neil the son of a law enforcement officer, added. “Seeing some of the stuff my dad goes through, I can only imagine what Sergeant Tucker could go through.”

The student is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and regularly posts about his religious views on social media, including sharing original songs he has written.


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A post shared by Juan J O’Neal (@the_juan_and_only5) on

“It just gives you kind of a renewed hope that there are a lot of good people out here who truly care and appreciate everything that we do,” Tucker said.

Frieda Powers


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