A boy sees two lonely policemen and gives them the money he had saved for a gift for his mom’s birthday. Two police cars show up at his house the next day.
Dean wanted to see his dad. Officer Frank O’Neal had died on the job six months before, and Dean thought about him, his smile, and his laugh every day.
After Frank died, Dean’s mother Amy moved the family to California to get away from the sad memories. So, why did Dean’s heart stop every time he saw a cop?
Dean went to the mall to find a gift for his mom’s birthday. Amy’s first birthday without Frank was going to be hard, so Dean wanted to get her something special.
He spent some of the money he had saved up to buy something his dad would have bought. He wanted a pretty bracelet that would cost him all of his money.
Dean walked into the mall and saw a police car parked in front of the side entrance. Inside the car were two police officers. He walked by and said hello.
“Hi,” he said with a smile. “Are you guys keeping watch?”
The older officer gave a grin. “Hey, kid!” he said. “Not really. We were told to keep an eye on a person of interest who hangs out here, but now we’re stuck!”
“Yeah,” the younger cop sighed. “Downtown, the guys who were supposed to take over were involved in a hit-and-run. We can’t have lunch!”
“That’s a shame,” Dean said with sadness. He gave the officers a wave and walked into the mall, where it was cool inside. Poor guys! In their squad car, they were hungry and hot.
Then he had a thought that he knew came from his dad. He walked to the pizza delivery place and ordered a large double pepperoni and cheese pizza and two ice-cold sodas.
Dean went outside and took the pizza and drinks to the patrol car. He said, “Hey.” “I want this to go to you guys.”
“Kid!” cried out the older man. “You ought not to have!”
Dean gave a sheepish shrug. “It’s no biggie,” he said. “My dad was a police officer. I… I guess I’d like to do something nice for his fellow officers.”
The younger cop asked, “Where’s your dad?”
Dean pressed his lips together so they wouldn’t shake as he said, “He died six months ago. We used to live in Portland, but my mother wanted us to start over somewhere else.
“Do you know I miss him?”
“I know,” said the older man in a soft voice. He died while doing his job?”
“Yeah,” Dean said. “They said he was a hero, and now they’ve given us a medal and everything? But I still miss him. He shouldn’t have been a hero. More than a hero, I need a dad.”
“I get it,” said the younger officer. “What are you called?”
“Dean,” he said. “Dean O’Neal,” he said. Tomorrow is my mom’s birthday, and I need to get her a gift. She doesn’t want to do anything like make a cake or have a party. She’s very upset.”
“Keep going, kid,” the older officer told him. “It does get better…”
Dean shrugged. He said, “I guess.” “Mom said that it would be better in California, but all it is is lonely. Anyway… “See you later!” Dean went back into the mall to look for a card for his mother.
After paying for the pizza, he didn’t have enough money left to buy the bracelet. He went home after he found a card he thought she would like. He never thought he’d run into the police officers again.
When Dean got home from school the next day, there were two police cars waiting for him in front of his house. He thought something was wrong right away, so he ran into the house and yelled, “MOM!”
When his mom came out of the kitchen, she was red-faced and looked confused. Someone had put up a big “Happy Birthday” banner in the living room, and the kitchen smelled great.
“Mom?” Dean asked. “What’s happening?”
The older police officer Dean had met outside the mall came in with a big, fancy birthday cake. “Hey, Dean!” said the officer with a smile. “You’re just in time!”
Three other officers were in the kitchen, cutting up food and cooking like crazy. Dean let out a gasp. “What’s happening?”
“This is the greeting team,” the older officer said. “We heard that a fellow officer’s family had moved to our town, so we wanted to make you feel at home.”
Then Dean saw a stack of presents on the couch. He asked, “What is this?”
Dean’s mother said, “They found out it was my birthday in some way! Isn’t it great? They all gave me gifts!”
Dean got a wink from the older officer. “Ma’am, we’re here to serve and protect you!”
Dean and Amy had a lot of fun on a night that could have been sad and lonely. The four policemen made an amazing dinner, sang “Happy Birthday,” and even washed the dishes before they left.
Amy and Dean were also invited to the Police Picnic. “Dean,” Amy said. “I feel like we’re not alone for the first time. We’ll be all right.”