You don't need a gun on your hip or a badge on your chest to be a hero.
That's what WFTS-TV reporter Cameron Polom found out when he was assigned to cover the story of missing 10-year-old boy Paul Ezekial Fagan Friday morning in Tampa. Fagan disappeared Thursday while playing outside near the home where he lives with this grandmother.
The boy's grandmother noticed that afternoon that he had disappeared. Friends and family searched the area for hours before eventually reporting him as missing to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Department. Authorities searched all night with the help of their dogs and helicopters, but by early Friday morning, their efforts were still unsuccessful.
While walking around the boy's neighborhood with a cameraman, Polom noticed something — or someone — in a nearby yard. The reporter called the name of the missing boy and seconds later it was clear that a potentially life-saving discovery had just been made.
"Come here, buddy…would you mind if I lift you up?" Polom asked the boy. And from there, he walked the boy over to the authorities who were still searching for him.
“There was a sense of relief from everybody there...And seeing the family respond the way they did, it was awesome,” Polom told Today.com.
While authorities don't know why the boy waited all night to come out from the overgrown vegetation where he was hiding, Polom wondered whether his own appearance may have had something to do with it.
“I’m not a guy who’s walking around with a gun on my hip. I don’t have a badge on my chest. Maybe he just wasn’t afraid to come up to me,” he suggested.
But whatever the reason, Polom said authorities still deserve all the credit.
"I just happened to be there at the right time," he said.
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