George State Trooper Nathan Bradley had the daunting task of telling a group of children that their parents’ had just been killed in a car accident.
On a GoFundMe page the trooper set up, he recalls knocking on the door with desperation:
Behind the locked screen door stood four children in full costume – a 13-year-old Freddy Krueger, 10-year-old daughter of a Dracula, 8-year-old wizard and a 6-year-old that appeared to be a firefighting ninja turtle. We were lost with words. The deputy then asked the eldest boy if anybody was home, hoping for a ‘Yes’ but the boy would unknowingly disappoint us. “My parents went to the store to get more face paint. They told us not to open the door for anybody, but they should be back soon.
Officials found the nearest relative, a grandmother living about three hours away in Florida. But instead of upsetting the children and telling them they were orphans and taking them down to the county jail to wait for their family, the trooper took the children out trick-or-treating. “I wanted to preserve these kids’ Halloween and the ones to come,” he wrote on the GoFundMe.
Bradley then took the kids on an adventure of burgers, fries and milkshakes at several different fast food places before an exciting tour of the troopers’ post. When his Captain heard what happened he and his family brought over candy, toys and Disney movies for the kids to watch. The Sheriff of the county where the family was from called to check in and Bradley told him they were running low on candy. Not long after, other volunteers arrived with bags of candy and toys for the children. They spent the night at the post and as the trooper was putting them to bed the little girl told him “You turned an F-Minus day into an A-Plus night!”
He still hadn’t told them about their parents. When their grandmother arrived, she agreed it was best to wait until morning. “We hoped that they would then relate the tragedy to November 1st, rather than Halloween,” Bradley wrote on the page.
When the children were leaving with grandma to go home and be told the terrible news, the trooper grabbed one of his police ball caps to give it to the older child. He wrote on it “never change” and put his phone number in case the kid needed support. On the day the trooper set up the GoFundMe page he got a call:
I was contacted by the 13-year-old this morning; I was glad he felt comfortable reaching out to me. He told me that it is going to cost his grandparents $7,000 dollars to transport his parents to Florida and the remaining funeral costs.
So Bradley started up the page. The story has since gone viral, and the $7,000 needed has now turned into a total donation of $279,695 and still climbing. Hopefully it will provide enough to take care of the childrens’ parents and start a scholarship fund.
“I care a lot about them and I want to watch them succeed,” he said, according to CNN affiliate WSB. “I don’t want this tragedy to shadow the rest of their lives.”
At a time when we talk a lot about the heartless acts of police who kill unarmed people, it’s refreshing to meet someone who cares about others and is invested in his community.
Featured image via video screenshot