Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I would really love to thank the police officer who may have altered the course of my husband's life a couple of decades ago

Danilo's mom told me this story a few Sundays ago. It's a little gem. Just when I thought I knew all there was to know about Danilo Collado. 

I'll do my best, a few things always get lost in translation, but as I understood it, when Danilo was 13 and living in Miami, he decided he was going to join a gang. The boys who were going to let him join told him he had to steal something from the store. 

Petrified, Danilo went in and grabbed the easiest thing he could find, a little Hot Wheels car. He'd caught a clerk's eye who followed him out the door and apprehended him. I'm not sure when the officer arrived on the scene, but this was the critical part. The officer had the opportunity to give Danilo a mild talking to and send him on his way. What difference would it make to haul this kid to the police station? Would it be worth the time and effort?

It made a huge difference.

The officer measured an appropriate amount of justice on my husband. He did take him to the police station. He probably received a good talking to. He instructed Danilo to call his mom and ask her to come get him.

Danilo started to cry. His mom was pregnant. She worked hard, and they didn't have a lot of money. This was going to make her sad. The thought was painful to Danilo.

My mother-in-law said she didn't stay long at the station once she arrived to pick up her son. She said there was an understanding between her and the officer that her having to come down and pick him up and knowing it would disappoint her was punishment enough. 

He didn't get into the gang. And he never tried again. It's a cute story, but I shudder to think where Danilo could be today if the officer had let him get away with it with no more than a slap on the hand.  If the 13-year-old son of a soon to be single mom living in Miami had ended up joining the gang, or even just learned that illegal activity only equals a slap on the hand.

Would his future have turned out the same? I can't say for sure. I decided awhile ago not to worry about what-ifs. Because this is what we have, and I'm so thankful.

1 comment:

Hooker Family said...

Such a great story/experience. You guys are a beautiful family!