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Cop Goes Beyond the Call of Duty to Help a Local Teen: 'I Put a Smile on This Kid's Face


"My heart went out for him."

Officer X and 13-year-old X forged an unexpected friendship. (Image source: WIS-TV)

After a fight with parents, it's not unusual for a teenager to want to run away from home in the heat of the moment. Instead of just up and leaving though, 13-year-old Cameron Simmons actually called the cops and told them he didn't want to live at home anymore. A conversation with one officer started a relationship that now is changing the South Carolina teen's life.

Officer Gaetano Acerra with the Sumter Police Department responded to Simmons in his time of need.

"I said, ‘You have it good, you have a roof over your head,'" Acerra told WIS-TV. "I told him I would try to help him out, and here we are now."

Officer X and 13-year-old X forged an unexpected friendship. (Image source: WIS-TV) Officer Gaetano Acerra and 13-year-old Cameron Simmons forged an unexpected friendship. (Image source: WIS-TV)

When Acerra brought the teen home after the call, he saw that the boy didn't have a bed, let alone many of the other fixtures a typical teen's bedroom would have -- a dresser or a desk. So, he went above and beyond the call of duty, buying a bed, furniture and other items for the teen, some of which were donated by friends who heard his story.

"My heart went out for him," Acerra told the news station. "I thought the little things that he needed I could give him to make him a happier kid."

"He said to me, 'Now my back won't hurt when I sleep,'" Acerra recalled from Simmons, who before had slept on a hardwood floor.

But the teen got so much more than a comfy bed: he gained a friendship.

"I gave him my cellphone number so he can call me whenever he wants," Acerra said.

Acerra told the news station that he didn't do it to gain publicity, but "because I could, because it was the right thing to do."

"I put a smile on this kid's face, and a friendship," Acerra added of what he got from the experience. "And I think it's well worth it."

Watch WIS-TV's report:


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