A cop runs to a mom’s rescue when she has difficulty calming her noisy son. He escorts the boy to a ‘special place’ to teach him an unforgettable lesson, but fate takes an unexpected turn when the lad receives his police badge from him years later.
No day on duty was tiring or monotonous for officer Danny, 35. It had always been a tough job to be a cop. Always. He did have the choice to pick a different career, but all that changed when he enrolled in the police academy. Once he graduated and embarked on a mission to serve the nation, service outweighed everything, and pulling the pin was out of the question.
Staying on that job was Danny’s avenue to help humanity, and he loved doing it, even if it meant putting his life at risk. During his service, he’d seen all kinds of people—frightened, threatening, crazy, drunk, and those that loved to break the law for fun.
But he had never met someone like Hunter, a ten-year-old noisy kid he ran into at the supermarket a week before Christmas…
As silver streaks of rainwater splashed on the windshield, Danny sat inside cozily, brushing his late wife Gaya’s photo. She reminded him of their first date that was ruined by the rain.
“The way you got frightened of thunder and buried your face in my jacket… And the way we kissed as rain drenched our lips!” Danny reminisced about her as beads of warm tears gently rolled down his cheeks. That’s when Hunter, an arrogant kid, came into the picture.
“Hey, watch it, kid!” Danny politely warned the boy, who brushed against the wing mirror with his umbrella. Hunter turned a deaf ear and did not bother to apologize or even look at who was inside. “Kids these days! Haaaa!”
Be a good example to children because they hear and mimic everything you do and say.
Danny grumbled and hurried into the supermarket. He walked around the aisles, looking for bacon and cheese. Daily after his duty, he would run to the store and buy canned spiced beef or, sometimes, fresh cuts to make juicy burgers for dinner. Sometimes it would be steamed rice and steak gravy. Sometimes just a box of pizza. And some days, Danny barely dined because duty would keep calling him until the wee hours.
“And this one… and this… and…” as Danny tossed the stuff into his cart, a loud sound startled him. He heard a boy screaming in an aisle opposite his and ran to check, only to find Hunter, the boy he had seen moments ago, behaving wildly.
“You always refuse whenever I ask. I want this for Christmas. Are you getting it for me or not??” Hunter shouted at his mother, Susan, who had no idea how to cool him down. He yelled and immediately started crying.
“Hush! Sweetie, can you stop this? People are watching,” Susan gestured for him to stay quiet.
But nothing calmed Hunter down, and when customers started flocking to see what that noise was about, Danny rushed to the scene.
“Hey, there! What happened? Is everything alright?”
Hunter showed no sign of fear after looking at officer Danny and kept shouting at his mother.
“Mom, are you getting this toy for me or not??”
Alright! So this is what you need to calm down, Danny wondered and immediately brought down the remote control toy plane Hunter wanted.
“Miss, the bill for this one is on me, alright? Have a Merry Christmas, young man!”
At this point, Hunter stopped screaming. The tears that endlessly flowed down his eyes suddenly stopped. He was happy and calmed down but never spared a second to thank the officer.
Danny settled the bills for his things and the toy he bought for Hunter and waited outside to meet the boy’s mother. He knew something was off with Hunter, especially after the kind of tantrum he threw in the store.
Moments later, Hunter and Susan marched out of the store, and as they were about to leave, Susan approached Danny to thank him.
“I’m Susan. Nice to meet you, officer. And thanks for that. It’s just that my son—” Susan suddenly stopped talking as tears rose in her eyes.
“Yeah, I wanted to ask you about him. Is everything alright? Why was he shouting at you?”
Just minutes into their conversation, Danny learned that Hunter had recently lost his dad in a hit-and-run. Since then, Hunter had been behaving differently.
“I don’t know how to handle him,” Susan explained. “I am afraid of how it’ll affect him in the long run. He misses his dad so much and is extremely depressed after losing him. Hunter gets angry for no reason and throws things. His friends stopped talking to him. He was a class topper, but his grades have tanked.”
“Hmmm… I get it… I get it,” Danny chimed in, reflecting deeply on Susan’s words.
Hunter’s current state of mind reminded him of the time when he behaved wildly after losing his father. Danny could relate to what the boy was going through and devised a plan to help him. He knew he would have to go out of his way to put the boy on the right track. It could backfire, he knew. But Danny was determined to try it out.
“Miss Susan, can I borrow ten minutes of your time? I want to take Hunter somewhere.”
Susan was puzzled but could not turn down Danny’s request, especially after he calmed her son down with the toy. Moments later, they arrived at the police station.
“Miss Susan, please wait here. We will be right back.”
“Wh—Where are you taking me?” Hunter anxiously asked Danny as he led him into the station.
“You will see for yourself, young man! Keep walking…”
Fear and uneasiness seeped into Hunter’s nerves as he marched across the cells with prisoners locked in each of them.
“You see them??” Danny began, pointing to the men in orange jumpsuits.
“This is the future of those who refuse to study and keep their grades up. This is what life looks like for those who do not have a goal. I had a goal, and I’m here as a cop. Had I gone astray, I would have been behind those bars someday.”
“You see, life is like a finish line — You only win if you cross that line. You are still a loser, no matter how close you are. The choice on which side of the line you want to be is yours, young man! But bear in mind — it could decide your fate.”
Hunter gasped in shock as he looked around, staring at the men who stared back at him. It looked menacing, disappointing, and not like the life his late dad had envisioned for him.
“You serious?? Will I be locked in jail if I don’t study or have a goal in my life??”
Ahem! Danny cleared his throat and continued — “Yes! You will become a responsible citizen only if you study well, attend college, and find a good job. Or else circumstances will lead you to do the wrong things. And those wrong things will bring you here. And you’ll have to wear an orange jumpsuit, stay locked all the time, and forget life outside those bars!”
Danny could see fear building up in Hunter’s wide-open eyes. He knew the boy needed this heavy dose of wisdom to get back on track. Danny just knew how to handle the kid… he just knew it.
Later, he led Hunter back to his mother, and she was surprised to see the strange glow on her son’s face. But did he really change his attitude after that brief encounter with the prisoners in the lockup?
“Miss Susan, I’ll drop you home now. You don’t have to worry about Hunter again. He will be a good boy, I promise!”
Danny dined with Susan and Hunter in their house after she insisted. And as time went by, he grew more fond of the boy. He became Hunter’s mentor in every aspect as the boy stepped into the delicate years of adolescence. Not just that; he and Susan became good friends and slowly started getting to know each other. Though they never planned on dating or taking things beyond friendship, they wished to remain thick buddies for life.
Years passed, and then one day, Danny, now a police captain, could not hold back his tears when Hunter’s name was called on the mic to receive his badge. Time seemed to have finally answered Susan and his prayers.
My boy, you did it… You made me proud!! Danny thought as he got up to address Hunter, 25, on his graduation from the police academy.
As Danny pinned the esteemed badge to Hunter’s uniform, the lad got down on one knee and took the mic, delivering a speech that moved everyone to tears.
“I was like a lost lamb after my father died. I thought I had no purpose until you came into my life and led me from darkness to light,” he began.
“You’re a great man, and I’m proud to call you my mentor. You’ve been my second father, and I’m honored to follow in your footsteps. I don’t know about tomorrow, but today, and for as long as I’m alive, this much will hold true — you are my greatest inspiration. I love you, daddy! Can I call you that??”
Unable to hold back his tears, Danny hugged Hunter and cried on his shoulder as everyone rose and applauded. Susan shed tears of joy and looked up, silently telling her late husband how proud she was of their son.
Following the graduation party, Danny, Hunter, and Grace drove to the mall to shop for Christmas. Hunter passed by the aisle and smiled when he saw the remote control toy plane he loved when little. He no longer needed one!
What can we learn from this story?
Be a good example to children because they hear and mimic everything you do and say. When Danny learned about Hunter’s past and the reason that led to his depression and poor performance in school, he toured him around the prison. He showed him what reality looked like for those who lacked a goal in life. Ultimately, Hunter mended his ways and walked in Danny’s footsteps.
Grief is a painful reminder of the depths of our love. Hunter’s life headed on a terrible track after his father’s death. He started behaving wildly, his grades tanked, and he could not cope with the loss.
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.