When a little boy from Florida was feeling blue, the boys in blue had his back.
On Tuesday, Tallahassee Police Department officer Joe White responded to an emergency call from a 6-year-old boy who dialed 911 without his family knowing because he was in need of some friendly company.
“Officer White arrived on scene and the young man asked Officer White to be his friend because he was lonely,” the department said in a post to its Facebook page, which included a picture of the boy with White. “Officer White took the time to explain how 911 is used and how it’s for emergencies.”
After learning that 911 is only to be used for situations that require immediate aid from the police, fire department or ambulance services, the boy was beaming while he sat in the driver’s seat of White’s patrol car and turned on its lights.
“Then Officer White said he’d always be a friend!” the department said in the social media post. “The young man got a stuffed animal, got to sit in the patrol car and got to spend some time with Officer White! We have a new friend!”
The heartwarming story got the attention of hundreds of Facebook users, and received hundreds of likes and dozens of comments praising White for taking the time to bring a smile to a boy in need of some cheer.
“What a great story Kudos to Officer White sometimes all those little ones need is a friend little or big a friend is always welcome,” one commenter said.
“Thank you Officer White! A new Friendship…something positive for a change. What a handsome young friend!” added another.
In a statement to PEOPLE, the department praised White for acting as a mentor to the boy and using their time together as a teachable moment.
“Officer White did a phenomenal job answering this 911 call and using it as an opportunity to be a positive mentor,” they said. “He understood the caller was a child who needed a buddy or a friend to understand. He took the time to make the interaction a teaching moment for the use of 911, too. Officer White helped tie the child’s sneakers and walked with him to the patrol car so he could work the blue lights.”
The officer even plans to come by to visit so he doesn’t feel lonely again.
“Officer White gave him a stuffed animal and they chatted about how to call 911 and now that they were friends, Officer White would stop by to check on him,” the department said in their statement.
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“It was a great moment to develop an important relationship. The child’s mother and older brother were there but there is a large age gap between the child and his brother. They did not know he called 911. The child knew by calling 911, he’d have a friend and he did!
The department added: “He knows now to call 911 only in case of a true emergency but also knows Officer White and other officers will be right there if he needs them just to talk.”
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