An Iowa police officer went above and beyond the call of duty when he personally inspected a young boy’s new bedroom for “bad guys” in order to help him sleep more soundly.
Amanda Williams’ 6-year-old son, Hayden, was having trouble sleeping in his own room after the family moved to a new house, she wrote on Facebook last week. Hayden was used to sharing a room with his older sister, and was experiencing “severe anxiety” at the prospect of sleeping alone, according to his mother.
“He says he has something wrong with his head and that he can’t stop the scary thoughts that are creeping into it. He begged me to call the police and a doctor to help him. Seriously breaks my mama heart into a million pieces,” she wrote.
Williams took her son to a local police station to talk to the officers in an effort to help him feel better, but Officer Bruce Schwartz went the extra mile by traveling back with them to their home in order to “fully inspect [Hayden’s] bedroom to assure him that there were no bad guys and that nothing in his room that would hurt him,” according to Williams.
Williams theorized that her son had likely grown scared after accidentally seeing commercials for horror movies like “Annabelle” and “It,” local CBS affiliate KCCI reports. As a makeup artist, Williams tried to explain to her son that monsters aren’t real by letting him watch videos of actors putting on special effects makeup, but when that didn’t do the trick — and neither did weighted blankets, night lights, or other measures the family took — that’s when Williams turned to the Eldridge Police Department for help, according to the outlet.
In addition to checking out Hayden’s room, Schwartz also told Hayden that he, too, sometimes struggles with having scary thoughts due to his work, but he thinks of things that make him happy — like being a cowboy — when it’s time to go to sleep, KCCI reports. Hayden took the officer’s advice, and successfully slept in his room that night.
Schwartz then surprised the family by showing up the next morning as Hayden was leaving for his first day of school to check how the night before had gone, Williams wrote, and Hayden happily told the officer that he “thought of being a cowboy just like you” in order to get to sleep.
Williams’ story, and the accompanying photos of Schwartz examining the child’s room and visiting him the morning after, quickly went viral on Facebook, garnering more than 26k reactions and 2,300 comments in one week.
Williams, who reportedly also knew Schwartz from his work at a high school her daughter attended, shared her thanks for the officer’s kindness in her post.
“I’m just at a loss of words honestly. Officer Schwartz, if you’re reading this, thank you from the bottom of my mama heart,” she wrote. “The kindness you’ve shown Hayden certainly doesn’t go unnoticed and I know he will remember this forever.”
Meanwhile, Schwartz has insisted that he did what anyone else would have.
“I'm definitely not special,” he said, according to ABC affiliate KCRG. “Any one of our officers would have done the exact same thing. We do this job for that reason — to help people.”
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.