When a boy with autism called 911 for a lost teddy bear, the police officer responded in the best way possible—with a house call and complete understanding. Read on for this sweet story with a big lesson in compassion and kindness.
Twelve-year-old Ryan Paul did what anyone would do when they consider themselves in an emergency: he called 911. Of course, a lost teddy bear is not an actual emergency, but when a well-trained officer discovered that Ryan has autism, he immediately understood how important his reaction to the situation needed to be.
“We came as fast as we could. Ryan was very happy to see me and I was actually happy to see him,” Officer Khari Manzini of the Woodbridge Police Department recounted to News 12 New Jersey.
A hang up call to 911 requires an officer visit by law, but when Ryan’s father, Bob Paul, a Woodbridge firefighter explained that his son has autism, Officer Manzini went above and beyond to answer Ryan’s call. “It was nice for the officer to ask about [the teddy bear]. He said he just had to make sure it was okay,” Paul explained.
POAC Autism Services, a non-profit organization that conducts the training for New Jersey first responders commended Officer Manzini for how he handled the situation. “I am proud to say that the training has been credited with saving children’s lives throughout our state,” POAC Autism Services Assistant Director Simone Tellini told NBC News.
Featured photo: Dorothe Wouters via Unsplash