If you need something to restore your faith in humanity today, this touching viral story won’t disappoint. A Connecticut police officer said he was “fighting tears” after receiving an emotional note left for him by two neighborhood children, whom he often reads to in his spare time.
Officer Anthony Nolan said that he was at home recovering from a knee injury caused by a fall at a traffic stop, when he received a handwritten letter from 8-year-old Malik and 9-year-old Tasha. The sweet note that thanked Officer Nolan for “being like a dad” to them was left duct-taped to his door with some spare change to buy coffee.
The note went on to say:
“My mom says [you’re] hurt. I’m sad because you can’t read to me. I don’t have a dad, only you read to me. I will tell police station boss to not make you work in danger because that’s best for you. I can ask my doctor to make you better, he is good. Can you make me a reading video if you can’t come read? I really miss you, and my sister is doing better [because] of you. Thanks [for] being like a dad for us.”
As Nolan told WFSB News, this unexpected note cut right to his heart. Nolan had first met Malik two years ago at Ocean Beach, after he and a friend had gotten upset about their book getting wet. Nolan decided to buy them a new book to replace their damaged one, which turned out to be about not having parents. Nolan described the experience as a “gulp” moment, and has since been reading to the kids on a weekly or biweekly basis for the past two years.
“They let me know what it means to them not to see me, which made me feel a lot better. It was like one of those healing moments. Even though you’re sick, you feel healed … Kids make us feel just as wonderful as we’re supposed to make them feel,” Nolan said.
Nolan shared Malik’s letter to his Facebook page and received an overwhelming response, with more than 2,000 likes and 69 shares in a matter of weeks. Malik and Tasha weren’t the only members of the community who had been touched by Nolan’s service.
Doris Perez of New London commented:
“For many kids around New London, you’re more than Officer Nolan. What they see in you is the dad, friend, they never have. That is why is so important to keep a good relationship with the community. Every life matters. God bless you. Thank you for your support.”
It’s little moments like this that remind us how easy it is to connect with kids on a deeper level, even for adults who don’t happen to be a member of the family. In fact, for the many kids like Malik and Tasha who are missing the support of a parent at home, this outside influence can be life-changing.
The grown-ups who go out of their way — like the Connecticut police officer who stopped to fix a child’s bike, or the Los Angeles police officers who helped a high schooler tie his tie on the first day of school, or the Tennessee teacher who walks his students home from school — are the ones making a difference.
We hear plenty of stories about police officers, teachers, and other authority figures making the news for the wrong reasons, which makes Nolan’s viral letter all the more important. For as many “bad seeds” as there are to worry about, there are just as many trustworthy adults working behind the scenes to make sure all children feel important.
As Mother Theresa once said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” Officer Nolan is living proof that one adult taking a few extra minutes out of his/her day can make a lifelong impact on a child.