A grandmother’s simple wish for her grandson with special needs turned into a life-changing experience, all thanks a police chief with a big heart.
Jajuan Shaw, 15, has autism. He loves cars, especially Humvees, so for his birthday on Aug. 31, his grandmother contacted the Porterdale Police Station near Covington, Georgia to ask if Jajuan could sit inside one.
“They told me they could do even better than that,” grandmother Betty Ray told WSB-TV.
When they arrived at the police station, Chief Jason Cripps arranged a birthday bash for Jajuan.
“They had balloons, cakes, gifts,” said Ray. “It seems like every police officer in Porterdale came out for Jajuan.”
Cripps recalls the day with a smile.
“We got him a uniform, we got him a badge, and we swore him in,” said Cripps. “When he wears his uniform, he looks like a real policeman. It’s amazing.”
A video posted to YouTube shows the highlights of the special day.
The Police Department’s generosity didn’t stop there; they asked Jajuan to come to the station in his free time to help out with their duties.
Now, every Friday for one hour, Jajuan heads to the station after school and helps the officers with simple tasks, like taking out the trash and filing paperwork.
Though the work may seem simple, Ray said her grandson has never been the same since he started working.
“Now Jajuan has autism. Autism does not have Jajuan,” said Ray. “I think they changed the rest of his life.”
She explained that Jajuan’s behavior is completely different now. In fact, she said she took him off his hyperactivity medication.
“It’s been 14 days and he hasn’t taken a single pill,” said Ray. “If he gets out of hand, I’ll call the chief and he’ll calm him down.”
Ray explained before he started working at the station, Jajuan would throw tantrums.
“He would butt his head against the wall out of frustration. But since his birthday, it hasn’t happened again,” said Ray.
Ray said the Cripps has become a mentor and friend to her grandson.
“He calls just to see how Jajuan is doing in the morning,” said Ray. “He calls in the afternoon to see how is day was … He just lifts Jajuan’s spirit.”
And it seems Jajuan is grateful for the chief’s friendship.
“I talked to him this morning before he went to school,” Cripps said. “All he kept saying was, ‘Thank you, chief. Thank you, chief.’”
Even Cripps has noticed a difference in Jajuan.
“Now, his day is bright. He talks a lot,” said Cripps. “I gave him a laptop. He’s brilliant with that laptop.”
Ray said her grandson’s life isn’t the only one that has changed.
“I worry so much about this little boy. But now, I have a different kind of hope,” said Ray. “My life has changed.”
She can’t thank the chief enough for everything he has done.
“He is a hero in my book,” said Ray.