One man’s kindness transforms a poor neglected boy’s life after a caring neighbor calls the police for a wellness check.
Mrs. Doyle noticed that the boy next door was out at all hours of the day or night, riding his skateboard, or talking with the other boys on the sidewalks about whatever boys their age talked about.
The thing was that when all the other boys went in after their mammas hollered it was time for dinner, that boy stayed on that empty street, riding back and forth all on his own, with his hat on backward. Something wasn’t right, and Mrs. Doyle decided to do something about it.
She put on her coat and her hat and went down for a walk to the local police precinct. She walked up to the desk sergeant. “Good morning officer!” she said brightly.
The officer who was used to people coming into the police station with less cheerful expressions was astounded but he smiled right back. “Good morning to you, Ma’am! And how may I help you?”
Mrs. Doyle shook her head. “I don’t rightly know, officer. Back in my day, you went to the police if something wasn’t right — and something isn’t right — but that doesn’t mean something is going wrong, or criminal or anything…”
The officer thought about it, and he called one of his colleagues, Officer Tony Murray. Officer Murray sat down with Mrs. Doyle and asked to tell him everything.
“Well, there’s not really much to tell. There’s this boy Jack Rollins — a good boy, mind you — and he goes to school every day and everything… But when it’s time to go in for dinner, he stays on the street all on his lonesome.
“And I’m thinking, maybe something bad is waiting for him at home and he doesn’t want to go, or there’s no one at home at all, and he’s not old enough to be on his own!”
Officer Murray thought about what Mrs. Doyle had told him. “There’s definitely something off here, Mrs. Doyle,” he said. “But don’t worry, I’ll get to the bottom of this.”
Officer Murray visited the boy’s school first and learned that Jack Rollins never missed a class, always handed in his homework on time, and was an excellent student, even if he was a little quiet.
The other kids said Jack was cool, and good at games, but he never invited anyone to his house, and he never ever let anyone see his room. According to the headmaster, Jack and his mom had moved to town three months before from Alabama.
Jack’s mother seemed a nice hardworking woman doing a fine job raising a thirteen-year-old boy on her own. Officer Murray’s next move was to go knocking on Jack’s door straight after school.
If we all lend a hand we can help people through their times of trouble.
Jack answered the door and stood there, blocking the view into the house with his body. “Good afternoon,” said Officer Murray smiling. “I’m Officer Anthony Murray. Is your mother in?”
Jack looked Officer Murray up and down suspiciously. “Mom’s not here right now,” he said.
“OK…” Officer Murray said. “Would you mind if I came in?”
“Do you have a search warrant?” asked Jack sharply.
“No, of course not!” said Officer Murray.
“Well I watch “Law & Order” with my mom, it is our favorite show — and you can’t come in if I don’t want you to without a warrant.”
Officer Murray shook his head. “I’m not here to get you into trouble Jack, I just want to make sure everything is OK with you.”
“Everything is just fine!” Jack cried. “Why shouldn’t it be?”
“Well, when kids don’t go home for dinner, sometimes it’s because they’re scared. Or maybe something isn’t quite right.” the officer said gently. “So if something isn’t right, you can come to me.”
Jack blushed bright red. “I just like riding on the street when it’s quiet, OK? That’s all!”
Murray nodded. “Yeah…I get that feeling sometimes on late patrol like I’m the only person alive on the streets. It’s pretty cool.”
Jack smiled. “Exactly! And when mom’s away…”
“Your mom’s away?” Murray asked.
Jack hung his head. “Yes. She’s had to go back to Alabama these last two weeks. My grandma broke her leg and my grandpa has Alzheimer’s…” then Jack straightened his shoulders. “But I’m OK on my own!”
“I know you are Jack, you’re a responsible boy. Could you let me come in?” Murray asked.
Jack let him in and Murray saw that the house was barely furnished and that Jack was sleeping on a mattress on the floor of his room. “Mom was going to fix everything up,” Jack said, “but then grandma got sick…”
“It’s OK Jack,” Officer Murray said, “I understand. But listen, I know your mom had no alternative and I don’t want to get her into trouble, so how about I come over to fix your supper every night, and you sleep at Mrs. Doyle’s house?”
Jack reluctantly agreed, and for the next week, Officer Murray would come over after work, fix Jack’s dinner, check his homework, and make sure he went next door to Mrs. Doyle’s house to sleep in her spare room.
“Mom’s arriving tomorrow,” Jack told Murray one day, “And she’s home to stay!”
“I know,” said Murray with a grin. “I thought maybe you’d like to help me set up a surprise for her?”
“A surprise?” asked Jack. “What kind of a surprise?” So Murray led Jack outside and parked in front of the house was a truck with all sorts of presents, including a bed for Jack, and a TV, a table and chairs, and all kinds of things Jack thought women would think were really cool.
By the time Jack’s mom arrived from Alabama the next day, the house was transformed and looked very cozy. Mrs. Rollins couldn’t believe her eyes. Then Jack introduced her to Officer Murray who explained everything.
From then on, Jack and his mom had two new friends to count on — Mrs. Doyle and Officer Murray. Murray thought Ms. Rollins was really pretty so he sort of started dating her, and maybe one of these days Jack will no longer be the man of the house.