For 12-year-old Ryan Paul, losing his favorite teddy bear was an emergency. So, the boy with autism called 911. And the way police officer Khari Manzini responded makes this a truly inspirational short story!
Bob Paul is a Woodbridge, New Jersey firefighter. And he was enjoying some time at home one day when he got a call from the local police department dispatcher.
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It turns out his 12-year-old son, Ryan, had called 911 when he couldn’t find his favorite toy — a little teddy bear named Freddy.
"The teddy bear fell down again. Don't worry, I'll rescue you. Goodbye again, see you again," Ryan said, hanging up before the dispatcher could get more information.
Bob explained the situation to the dispatcher, who understood. But the department has a policy about 911 hangups, requiring an officer to check it out just to be sure things are truly okay.
The responding officer could have easily shown up with an attitude. But that’s not what Woodbridge officer Khari Manzini did at all!
Officer’s Response After Boy With Autism Called 911
When Officer Manzini arrived and learned the call came from a boy with autism, he fell back on some special training he’d received called Autism Shield.
"We came as fast as we could," Officer Manzini said. "Ryan was very happy to see me and I was actually happy to see him happy and that we had gotten the teddy bear back."
The police officer’s “kindness and understanding” meant so much to Ryan’s dad, Bob. Rather than getting frustrated, Officer Manzini chatted with Ryan about his “emergency”.
"It was nice for the officer to ask about [the teddy bear]. He said he just had to make sure it was okay," Paul said.
Officer Manzini’s kindness had a big impact on Ryan, too. In fact, the boy with autism insisted on taking a photo with the compassionate police officer.
And when Bob shared the photo and story on social media, there’s no surprise it went viral!
Bob was glad to see the story circulating, especially as a way to encourage other special needs families.
"I want parents to know that there's good out there. It's great training for officers to receive," he said.
For the icing on the cake, Ryan’s family reunited him with his missing teddy bear!
The whole experience at least gave Bob peace of mind in knowing his son understands who to call in an emergency. He said they’re just going to work on fine-tuning Ryan’s definition of emergency!
“I’m a little offended my son didn’t get me (a firefighter) to help with the rescue,” Bob Paul also joked.
WATCH: Police Officer Responds To Lost Teddy Bear Call
Featured Image Credit: PIX11 News
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