When a teenager called the police to say he didn’t want to live at his house anymore, a local police officer jumped into action. But instead of bringing Child Protective Services, he brought friendship and a bed.
Cameron Simmons, a 13-year-old in Sumter, SC, called police after fighting with his mom and said he was upset and that he didn’t want to live with his family anymore, WIS-TV reports.
Officer Gaetano Acerra responded to the call. “He was a little distraught and upset,” Acerra told WIS-TV. He met Simmons in the parking lot across the street from the Simmons home.
"I said, ‘You have it good, you have a roof over your head’," Acerra said. "I told him I would try to help him out, and here we are now."
But a roof over his head is about all Simmons had at home. When Acerra brought the boy back to his house, he realized Simmons’ bedroom was empty. There was no bed, no desk, no dresser. Simmons slept on an inflatable mattress and did his homework on the floor.
"My heart went out for him," Acerra said. "I thought the little things that he needed I could give him, to make him a happier kid."
And so Acerra did. He talked to a few people and received cash donations from them, he said. And the officer’s brother, professional fighter Ferdinando Acerra, took up the cause on his Facebook page.
“A Sumter police officer responded to a call. He saw that a young boy was sleeping on a floor because he didn't have a bed, and did his homework there as well. The officer decided to get this young man a bed to sleep on, a desk to do his homework, and a wii to have some fun. That officer is my little brother and I couldn't be more proud of that,” the mixed martial artist wrote.
The donations Acerra collected were top of his own money that he planned to use for the cause. He used the money to go shopping at second-hand stores, he told WIS-TV.
He arrived at Simmons’ house on Tuesday with a truck loaded up with a queen-sized bed, a desk, a chair and a TV, CNN Pathline reports. Not only that, after hearing about the boy’s story, someone donated a Wii gaming system, so Acerra brought that too.
Simmons told Acerra that because of the new bed his back won't hurt anymore and that he was grateful for the gifts.
Acerra says he plans to add a dresser and mirror to Simmons’ budding furniture collection.
"I didn't do this for publicity or to get people to notice me," Acerra said to WIS-TV. "I did it because I could. It was the right thing to do and I think people should do things like this."
The officer gave the teenager his personal cell phone number, and told him that he could call whenever he wants. The two have become friends.
A spokesperson from the Sumter Police Department told WIS-TV that people have called the station to offer to help the Simmons family.