A Georgia state trooper gave four children of a family the best Halloween gift after he found out that their parents had died in a car wreck on the same day.
For Trooper Nathan Bradley, it was a normal day of patrolling on October 31 when he was alerted of a car accident in Morgan County, Georgia. When he reached the scene of the accident, he was devastated to find out that a couple, Crystal and Donald Howard, had died as a result of their car hitting a tree. To make matter worse, the Georgia state trooper was tasked with the difficult proposition of informing the children of their parents’ death.
When he reached their family home, he found four children, all clad in their Halloween uniforms, waiting eagerly for their parents. The eldest child, Justin Howard, told them nobody else was home. Now while many would probably deliver the news with a heavy heart, Bradley decided to rise above his call of duty.
“The door hesitantly opened and there behind the locked screen door stood four children in full costume — a 13-year-old Freddy Krueger, 10-year-old daughter of a Dracula, 8-year-old wizard and a 6-year-old that appeared to be a firefighting ninja turtle,” he wrote on the GoFundMe page he later set up.
Instead of informing the children about the tragedy immediately, the Georgia state trooper took the kids out for hamburgers and invited them for a movie night sleepover at the patrol station as part of Halloween celebrations. Their grandmother agreed that she should be present the next morning to break the news about their parents to the children, aged 6-13, according to NPR.
“We wanted to break the news on November 1st, so that October 31st wasn’t going to be remembered for anything other than the evening they had with us” the Georgia state trooper told News Radio 106.7.
At the night of October 31, the children were put to bed in rooms at the post, still not told about the tragedy.
“You turned an F-Minus day into an A-Plus night!” one of the children, the little girl, told him at bedtime — words Bradley could not swallow at the time.
Thinking of the possible ways he could help the family, it was then that the Georgia state trooper decided to set up a GoFundMe page to cover the funeral expenses so that Crystal and Donald can be buried in Florida, where the children are moving in with grandparents, and establish a trust fund for the future of the children. At the time of writing, the page has raised more than the set goal of $230,000, and the donations are increasing by the minute.
“I wanted to preserve these kids’ Halloween and the ones to come,” he noted.
Nathan Bradley’s actions have been hailed all around, with many of the trooper’s former friends celebrating his “heart of gold” on social media. According to many of his friends, he has always been generous and sensitive.
The Georgia Department of Public Safety took to social media to thank their state trooper too.
Above all, it was important for Bradley that the children have a future and always stay close to their family.
“This is important to me because I have bonded so closely with this family. We weighed out other options and I strongly disagree with the parents being left in Georgia, while the family remains in Florida. These children must be able to visit their parents’ graves during their adolescent years and well into their adult years.”
The Georgia state trooper is now back doing his job, helping others. And the children will have good memories of Halloween because of him.
[Image via Aaron Burden / stocksnap.io under Creative Commons public domain license]