Burglary crime rates go up during the Christmas Holiday season. Folks love to leave their drapes open to display their tree sparkling with lights and tinsel, not to mention displaying all the gifts under the tree. “It’s Christmas eve, you ready for Christmas,” I asked my partner who was writing and documenting our activity log. “I just finished yesterday,” he replied not even looking up.
“Any unit, see the man and respond to a burglary investigation located on Wall Street,” said the dispatcher over our Police radio. We took the call and drove to the location. It was a very poor neighborhood with lots of rundown apartment buildings, duplexes and broken down cars on the street. A man was standing in the front yard flagging us down as we arrived in front of the house; it was obvious he was very distraught. There was a slight language barrier but we managed to understand that someone had broken into his house.
The man explained that he and his family went to Church and that they were gone for about an hour. When they returned home, they saw that the side door had been broken open and all of their food, Christmas presents and even the Christmas tree were gone.
My partner was taking the report and listing all things the buglers took. “Damn, they ever took the Christmas tree,” I mumbled. I looked around and felt so sad at such humble living conditions. Then I saw five small children, ages ranging from about six to thirteen standing in the doorway of the only bedroom. “Oh my,” I thought to myself, “what a tragedy…a man works hard to provide for his family, tries to make a nice Christmas and some thief comes and takes it all away.” Pretty heartless if you ask me.
My partner finished the report and we expressed our heartfelt sadness for their misfortune. We left the house and walked down the driveway, got into our Police car and drove away. “I cannot believe how sad that was,” I said, “Yeah, pretty sad,” my partner scowled, “criminals are scum.” “Let’s get to the station to see if any toys are left over from the toy drive, maybe we can bring them some things,” I said.
Every year, the Police Department and the community have a toy drive and this year was very busy. We arrived at the station and most everything was gone. Christmas brings out the very best in people and the good people of the surrounding community had donated a lot, but there must have been many families in need. Times are rough right now.
The volunteers and community members at the toy drive were cleaning up and getting ready to go home to their families, “Listen up everyone,” I announced to the group, “I know it Christmas eve and everyone wants to get home to their families, but there is one family tonight who just lost their whole Christmas because of a burglary.” Before I could say another word, an amazing thing happened. You see, these community members know the crime in this neighborhood, many of them have been victims also and know the pain, and so what happened next truly was a Christmas miracle.
A few people made some phone calls and some left and said they would be right back and everyone jumped to action. Within an hour, we had toys, clothing, wagons and bicycles, dolls, games, blankets and household appliances. Someone brought a large dollhouse and others brought food, food, and more food. It was remarkable.
We called in four or five Police units to help us load up and deliver the gifts and six units arrived. At least ten community members and all the Police Officers all drove over to the family who thought they had lost their Christmas. As we all pulled up and started to unload out cars, the man came running with his family right behind him. Never in my life have I seen anyone so grateful. “Oh thanks God,” he shouted as tears of joy streamed down his face. “Thank you… thank you… thank you.” The pure delight on those little children’s faces was indescribable. The feeling in the air was of pure love, joy and happiness that the whole neighborhood could feel.
As everyone was feeling the joy, an old man pulled up in front of the house in a truck and asked, “Can someone help me with this, please?” A few of us ran over to help unload what he had brought…a fully decorated Christmas tree. “Merry Christmas,” the man said humbly, then he got back into his truck and drove away.
That night was truly wonderful, and many people will never forget how a Christmas tragedy turned into a Christmas miracle.
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