A 4-year-old boy’s police-themed birthday party was crashed by real-life police officers who responded when they heard the boy’s family was going through a difficult time.
Around half a dozen Longview, Texas, police officers showed up Saturday in a SWAT vehicle and police cruisers at the home of Mason Williams, who wants to be a police officer when he grows up.
“We took him to our local Christmas parade two years ago and he was obsessed with the police cars’ lights and loud noises and I think that’s when it all began,” Mason’s mom, Katy Williams, told ABC News. “From there it’s just kind of skyrocketed.”
Katy Williams and her husband, Aaron Williams, wanted to make Mason’s fourth birthday extra special because the couple had to spend time away from Mason when their newborn daughter, Ellie, was hospitalized in March in Dallas, about a two-hour drive from their home.
“Ellie was airlifted to Children's Medical Center of Dallas when she was three days old so Mason never got to see her or hold her,” Katy Williams said. “That was upsetting to him and he went through a lot with my husband and I being gone.”
With Ellie stabilized and the family now back together in Longview, Williams placed a phone call to the Longview Police Department with a request for Mason’s birthday.
“When Katy called and asked if we could bring a car out, I kind of knew that maybe [Mason] wasn’t getting a lot of attention right now and they might not have had a lot of time to plan a party,” Sgt. Kerry Higginbotham, who answered Williams’ call and already knew of Ellie’s medical struggles. “It made me feel good that she trusted our department enough to call us.”
Higginbotham passed the request on to his colleague, Sgt. Chad LeMaire, who was on duty Saturday. LeMaire and his fellow officers arrived at the Williams’ home with not just the SWAT vehicle and police cruisers, but also a remote control police car they taught Mason how to drive.
“I look out the window and saw a SWAT car and two police cars behind it so I yelled out to Mason,” Williams recalled. “He came to the door and said, ‘Oh my gosh,’ and started running outside, without even his shoes on.”
She added, “They let Mason get in the SWAT car and sit in the front seat and he asked them, ‘Do you have presents for me?’ which embarrassed me half to death but they said, ‘Yes we do.’”
The police officers gave Mason a police badge and patch and a basket full of superhero-themed presents. They also gave a gift to Mason’s parents of gift cards to a restaurant and movie theater for a night out and a Starbucks gift card to help with their lack of sleep.
“We’re all family people here at the department and we know what those strains feel like and just wanted to do something special for them so they didn’t get lost in the mix,” LeMaire said of the gift.
Williams said there was also a card attached to the gift cards that she described as “heartfelt, genuine, sincere and kind.”
“They went above and beyond,” Williams said of the Longview police force. “I don’t know how well a 4-year-old’s memory is but I don’t know how Mason can ever forget this birthday.”
“We will never forget it and it will always stand out for us.”