A 13-year-old who said he wanted to run away from home called the local police. The call ended up making all the difference in his life.
When 13-year-old Cameron Simmons called 911 from a convenience store near his home, he told the dispatcher that he wanted to run away.
Officer Gaetano Acerra of the Sumter Police Department in South Carolina responded to the call, telling ABC News: “He called and was very distraught and very upset. He was threatening to run away and leave the house. That’s all the information I had.”When Acerra arrived, he found Cameron at the store, noting, “He was so upset. I asked him questions about why he didn’t want to live there, and I was complimenting him on his clothes. He had nice clothes and shoes on.”
When Acerra arrived, he found Cameron at the store, noting, “He was so upset. I asked him questions about why he didn’t want to live there, and I was complimenting him on his clothes. He had nice clothes and shoes on.”
While his reason for wanting to run away was small, there was a larger issue at hand. The boy explained to the police officer that his mom yelled at him for using his older brother’s video game system.
Acerra returned Cameron to his home and discovered that his living situation was less than ideal. He explained, “He took me to his room and it was four walls, two windows and hardwood floor.” He added, “It was just empty. He had his clothes on the ground in a black garbage bag. I asked him where he sleeps and he said, ‘Sometime on the couch and sometimes on a blow-up mattress.'”
Armed with that information, Acerra worked to get the boy some of the basic necessities to help his family, as they had fallen on hard times when they moved from Texas to South Carolina to care for a sick relative.
Acerra and his older brother later were able to provide some basics and some fun for Cameron, including a new bed, TV, desk, chair, a comforter, and a gently used Wii system. Acerra explained, “The kid was in tears. He was just in shock, so happy. He still is.”
A photo of the officer and boy hugging in Cameron’s front yard after the items were dropped off instantly went viral, touching the hearts of everyone who saw it and read their story.
Acrerra’s good deed also drew attention from others who wanted to contribute, as he explained, “I’ve got a three-piece furniture set, an end table, a dresser with a mirror and another little armoire from a furniture company that just donated this to us. It’s all brand new out of the box. And now he has a new backboard for the bed I already gave him.”
Cameron’s older brother also got some much-needed essentials, as Acerra explained, “For his brother, we got him a queen-sized bed, a backboard and frame. His brother has a complete room now, too.” The boys also got contributions of a bicycle and air hockey table.
The boys’ mother was very grateful for Acerra’s ability to get the family these items, as he explained, “She said she’s been praying for her boys and she can’t be more happy. She’s so thankful.”
Acerra also set up a GoFundMe campaign so people could continue to donate to the family. Of this unexpected experience, Acerra noted: “I didn’t expect this, and I’m not one to gloat or brag or even ask for help, but with all these people standing behind us, we can change a lot of lives.”