Woodbridge, NJ-Ryan Paul, 12, has autism, and was devastated when he could not find his teddy bear, “Freddy”, and called 911.
Ryan’s parents taught him to call 911 in case of an emergency, and to Ryan losing Freddy was an emergency.
"My teddy bear fell down again," Ryan said to the dispatcher, according to published reports. "Don’t worry I’ll rescue you again. Goodbye again. See you again."
Before the dispatcher could ask any questions, Ryan hung up, so police were sent to his home.
Officer Khari Manzini came to the door, ready to assist in the rescues. Shortly after, Manzini found the bear.
“We came as fast as we could,” Manzini said. “Ryan was very happy to see me and I was actually happy to see him happy and that we had gotten the teddy bear back.”
Manzini has special training which teaches police officers and other emergency responders to distinguish autism in someone they come into contact with and know how to handle the situation.
Ryan asked Manzini for one more favor – a photo. The officer happily obliged, living up to his Instagram message, which says: "My Greatest Experiences Are of Those Spent Serving. Leadership. Mentorship. Integrity. Respect."
Ryan’s father Robert Paul, praised the police department on his Facebook page.
“I’d like to thank the officer who responded for his kindness and understanding, even posing for a picture with the ‘offender,’ as well as the 911 operator who called back to make sure everything was OK," he wrote. “I’m glad that we have such a fine and caring police department.”
The father said, "Manzini knew how to interact with Ryan, because sometimes people with autism can be a little distant or not conversational and that can be mistaken as confrontational. You never want it to get to the level of the officer thinking that the person isn’t being cooperative when it’s really a trait of the autism."