The theft of a toy resulted in smiles for a little boy in Tempe, Arizona, thanks to police officers and community members.
When Peter Philbrook shared on Facebook that his four-year-old son Gerald’s battery-operated gator tractor was stolen from his truck, he said it also hurt him, azfamily.com reported Saturday.
“My heart just sank, just like why would someone do that? I would have been happier if they had taken my truck,” he stated.
The toy was special because it was a project he and his son bonded over while assembling it.
“You could definitely tell that it was really hard on him. He’d ask, ‘Why would someone do that to me?'” noted Steffanie Philbrook, Gerald’s mother.
In the post, Phil said the tractor meant the world to the little boy.
“He even put stickers on it from my best friend who passed away in December and his favorite sticker from his grandma that was a peace sign. He said then everyone who sees him coming will know he comes in peace and not to worry,” the post read.
When Tempe Police Sgt. Andrew Brooks heard what happened, he and fellow officers began searching for the missing tractor.
They were unable to locate it but joined with Walmart and the Tempe Officers Association to purchase another one for Gerald.
The department shared a video of the touching moment when Brooks and other officers surprised the little boy with the gift:
Officers answer a family’s prayers by gifting 4 year old Gerald a new Gator after his was stolen a couple weeks ago. Get more info and more pics on our Instagram and Facebook page. @Walmart @ToaAz pic.twitter.com/waG2Ym0xcA
— Tempe Police (@TempePolice) April 24, 2021
“I decided that you deserved one, and decided that you probably shouldn’t know about bad guys and people stealing stuff,” Brooks told him.
The officers also gave Gerald a license plate with his name on it and a peace sign sticker.
“Thank you,” the little boy commented, adding, “This is like, exactly cooler than my other one. Wow.”
Brooks said the moment also made him very happy.
“I get emotional, I’m an emotional guy. It just filled me with a lot of joy. We need to all realize there is love in the world,” he concluded.