Seven-Year-Old with Cancer Becomes Sheriff's Deputy For the Day
His mom says he won’t be taking his uniform off anytime soon.
Arroyo, who is living at St. Jude Target House in Memphis with his family, couldn’t stop smiling when area police officers welcomed him to the force in late August. After he donned his custom uniform, Arroyo was sworn in as an “honorary deputy.” Next, he practiced firing his bright orange cap gun and using his handcuffs before he hit the streets in a patrol car—sirens on, of course. He even got to make a traffic stop and apprehend a suspect with silly string! And though he was confined to his wheelchair, for a few hours he got to feel like a normal healthy kid.
"I can’t describe the words, what it was like to be able to be there and be part of that, to see that young man who’s been through so much, to make him smile," Sheriff Bill Rasco told USA Today. "Every time we’d give him a gift, his face would light up, and he’d say, 'Wow!'"
Arroyo’s joy was electric, and brought tears to the eyes of the squad’s toughest cops. "His mom said Piero would not be taking off the uniform anytime soon," Amanda Wiig, of the Make-A-Wish Foundation revealed to USA Today. "It was a really special time for them."
Deputy Alex Coker, who worked with Make-a-Wish Foundation to put the day together, said they were determined to go above and beyond for the young boy, even though they know he would have been just as happy with a ride in a squad car. "He’s been through some trauma. You could see how much it meant to him to be there," Coker said. "He could have gone to Disney World, or on a shopping spree, but his only wish was to be a cop."
"At the end of the day I could tell he was tired, but he was smiling and having a great time. To be part of that, it’s emotional," Rasco recalled. "We sometimes forget that we're blessed... It’s a privilege to bring joy to his life. It means so much."