When the Woodbridge Township Police Department received an unexpected phone call from an autistic 12-year-old, it could have been easy to dismiss the child.
The call didn’t allege any sort of horrible crime taking place, and it didn’t deal with an assault or a robbery or a murder.
Instead, Ryan Paul had a different kind of problem: He’d misplaced his teddy bear and wanted help finding it, according to ABC News.
“My teddy bear fell down again. Don’t worry I’ll rescue you again. Goodbye again. See you again,” Ryan said during the call, Tribune Media Wire reported.
The operator could’ve easily dismissed it as a prank. Instead, though, the call got passed to Officer Khari Manzini, who’d received training POAC Autism Services.
As part of the department’s policy, Manzini responded to the hangup call.
“Whenever we can use that training to make sure that not only do we keep ourselves safe, but those folks that we’re helping out safe,” Manzini said. “You know, it makes a great difference.”
When the officer appeared at the door, Ryan’s shocked father, Bob, asked, “Ryan, did you call 911?” Ryan admitted that he had, explaining, “Teddy bear rescue.”
According to Insider, that was exactly what Manzini did. He and Ryan searched the boy’s room for the lost bear.
Eventually, they found the stuffed toy that slid down beside Ryan’s bed.
“He just couldn’t have been more accommodating or understanding,” Paul said. “It was really great.”
However, Paul made sure to explain to his son afterward that a missing toy didn’t constitute an emergency.
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