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Lakewood police officer pens Christmas story

Post by Mike Archbold on Dec. 16, 2009 at 9:50 am with 29 Comments »
December 16, 2009 10:53 am

A little boy and his toy dinosaur who came by the Lakewood Office Department station last Sunday to honor the four slain police officers touched an officer enough that the officer wanted to share the story in a Christmas letter to friends.

One of the friends who received the letter, Tukwila police officer Mike Murphy, said he and his fellow officers were so touched by the story that they thought it should be shared with the community.

Murphy said the officer who wrote it agreed but wanted to remain anonymous.

“It is just a story of one child reaching out and helping heal the pain we have all suffered,” Murphy said in his e-mail. “Our only goal in sending it is to reach out to our community and thank them for this and all the other love and support they have sent us through this very difficult time.”

The Christmas story is reprinted below:

December 13, 2009

I’m not much for writing Christmas letters, and in fact this year, I didn’t even feel like making the effort of buying and addressing Christmas cards at all. I’m sure you all have heard of the terrible tragedy that occurred here in Lakewood two weeks ago today – four of our officers, four people that have become my friends over the past 5 years as we all worked here together, were gunned down as they sat in a coffee shop. Three fathers and a mother – all of whom were dedicated to their jobs and their families – now dead. The grief at our station and in our community has been overwhelming and we have all now just barely begun to process what this means for our department and for police departments all across our state and nation. Several times since this event happened, police agencies have responded to reports of individuals across King and Pierce Counties causing commotions and claiming to be planning to kill more officers. We do our best to maintain our composure and continue to do our jobs the best that we can.

It is hard not to remain bleak and jaded with these events so fresh in our minds. But something happened today, just 20 minutes ago, which made me want to send out a Christmas letter. I’m here at work and was just out in our secure parking lot helping another officer load collection bins into his car to take to a local Lakewood Police Independent Guild fundraiser event. I heard a woman, standing with a boy who couldn’t have been more than 3 or 4 years old, calling, “Excuse me….” through our locked gate. She had apparently been trying to get to our front counter but found no one there, it being Sunday, and had just happened to see us in the parking lot. I walked over to her and saw that the little boy was holding a plastic baggy containing a dollar and some change, and was clutching a well-worn stuffed dinosaur.

The woman told me that her son, AJ, had seen the stories on tv about our 4 slain officers. She said that they had driven to our station all the way from Kingston because her son was so intent on helping the children of these officers. I opened the gate and the boy handed me the plastic baggy containing all the money from his piggybank and a note on which he had written “AJ….From me to Pleec. I Love You.” And then, with tears in his eyes, he handed me his stuffed dinosaur. AJ’s mom explained that he wanted to give the children of the slain officers the most precious thing that he owned, and that was his dinosaur, Bruno.

I told AJ that I would take the money that he wanted to donate, but that I thought the best thing he could do for the children of our 4 officers was to keep Bruno safe with him but to keep those kids in his heart when he hugged his dinosaur. He agreed and gratefully took Bruno back from me and held him tightly as if he never wanted to let him go again.

We have seen many, many acts of generosity and kindness over the past 2 weeks. We have hugged more friends and strangers than we could have ever imagined and have mended broken ties with people we haven’t talked to for years. Yet nothing has touched me deeper, or given me more hope for the future, than AJ and his stuffed dinosaur. I gave AJ one of our department challenge coins, explaining to him that we only gave them out to the bravest and most deserving people we came across. I hope he will realize someday how much more than a dollar and some change he gave to me and to the Lakewood Police Department today.

So anyway, none of that is about Christmas, but it is about hope and love and I thought it was appropriate to share this holiday season.

I hope this letter finds all of you well and eager to spend the holidays with those you love. Squeeze everyone a little tighter and hug them a little longer today because life really is precious. Merry Christmas!

Leave a comment Comments → 29
  1. lonergan says:

    AJ’s mom is pretty special too. Raising him with excellent values, and willing to make a l-o-n-g drive from Kingston to Lakewood, so he could do what was in his heart.

  2. nashabee says:

    very very touching,,,i sure wish the little boy and his mother a merry merry x-mas!!!!!these are true acts of kindness…….

  3. sylandad says:

    Powerful beyond words.

  4. Concernedfather says:

    Obviously AJ is being raised right. Too many people have babies, and let the TV and the STREETS raise their kids. The by-product of that failed experiment produces the kind of animal that committed the atrocious act two and a half weeks ago. It is a comfort to me, to see people that care enough to take the time to raise their kids proactively. It will be our only saving grace in the future.

  5. cclngthr says:

    One of the better stories out there where young children are involved in a good deed.

  6. dakota123 says:

    This IS all about Christmas…and giving…from the heart. Thanks for sharing.

  7. jiminycricket says:

    AJ and his mother are a reminder to all of us that there’s so much more love in this world than hate! The spirit of Christmas is alive and well and lives in the hearts and minds of this little boy and his loving mother. What a heart warming story! Thanks to the officer for sharing and to the TNT for publishing! May each of us carry this spirit into the New Year!

  8. FREEDOM81 says:


  9. Tuffgal74 says:

    I agree with Dakota…this IS all about Christmas…selfless giving. Many children don’t know it’s the true meaning of Christmas. Way to go AJ & his mom!

  10. What a wonderful thing. AJ’s Mom has done a great job in raising such a compassionate little guy. God bless them both and God bless all police officers and their families.

  11. swampgirl says:

    That is what I call a beautiful story of kindness! Thank you so much for sharing it, it brought tears to my eyes as I handed a couple of copies of it to my co-workers to read.

  12. elmerfudpucker says:

    That has been by far the best thing ever posted in the TNT. Thank you!

  13. krennie1 says:

    As I dry the tears from my eyes, I find hope… God Bless the child, the families of the Lakewood Police Officers and our community.

  14. gunndawg says:

    God bless the Lakewood community, Seattle, too. Great letter. Merry Christmas to AJ and all.

  15. jiminycricket says:

    I kindly urge everyone viewing this story to email the webmaster@thenewstribune.com about the hateful and dispicable comment posted here by GreatWhiteTruth. This behavior is hateful and in poor taste, and should not be tolerated here. This is racism at its worst! Thank you!

  16. xXBMTH4EVER1995Xx says:

    Don’t follow the advice of jiminycricket!!!
    It is people who behave LIKE YOU that disgust me. Freedom of speech is sometimes offensive, don’t you know that? When you say speech like the kind GreatWhiteTruth wrote about is hateful, and “should not be tolerated” you are showing yourself to be an anti_American. Don’t you understand what you are asking? It is irrelevent what side of the issue I am on when it comes to the criminality of black people in general, but I UNLIKE you, am on the side of freedom of expression. Wake up, stop being a disgusting monster that want’s to take away your fellow citizens right to express his opinion. If you can, join the side of freedom because their are to many of your type of thinkers already, that are willing to take away our freedoms. What we need is more patriots, wake up and if you can reject your totalitarian ways and becaume a good,freedom loving American, We who love our rights and responsability’s will accept you if you will reject muzzling Americans.

  17. oldcenturian says:

    We definitely don’t want to muzzle the hatemongers and phony patriots here, because it makes it so much easier to identify them when they invariably commit some cowardly hate crime, and it also provides evidence of their intent.
    Best tactic is to ignore such trolls, and focus our attention on the wonderful story of AJ and his mother…God bless ‘em!

  18. Mandolin4 says:

    You know, y’all make me mad. Here is a sweet story about a little boy doing what he thought is right and you people turn it into hate. Yes the GreatWhite Truth has their freedom of speech, but was it really appropriate on a story like this. NO!!! Lakewood has been through something horrific and turning your own political agenda into it was not needed.
    I’m a mother of a little boy who I hope one day has a heart as big as this little boy. We need more people like that in our world no matter what their age, race, religion ect. I hope you people will look past yourselves and see what the true meaning of this letter was.

  19. jiminycricket says:

    Mandolin4 and oldcenturian-Couldn’t have said it better! The hate spewed by a few could never outshine the love of a special little boy like AJ and his dear mother. God Bless them and everyone, not just during the Yuletide, but every single day of the year!

  20. To GreatWhiteTruth: this is a story of young boy doing something out of the goodness of his heart to help people in a time of need. We should just be able to appreciate the pureness of his heart and we could all learn a lesson from him. The world would be a better place if more of us were like him.

    And by the way: you do know there are black police officers here and around the country, valiantly and bravely defending and protecting each and every one of us everyday.

  21. To GreatWhiteTruth: this story is about a young boy doing something out of the goodness of his heart to help people in need. We should be able to appreciate and admire him for the pureness of his heart, and we could all learn a lesson from him. The world would be a better place if more of us were like him.

    And by the way: you do know there are black police officers here and around the country bravely, valiantly, and courageously defending and protecting each and every one of us everyday.

  22. SearchAndScan says:

    I pray this wonderful child grows up and stays compassionate and thoughtful.

  23. kmhblonde44 says:

    I wept as I read this story. I cannot even begin to imagine how impacting the murders have been to all officers of the law. My gosh what a scary job on a day to day basis, let alone going to work each day with crazy people using this fear to their benefit and gain.

    I appreciate the vulnerability of the officer sharing his/her day to day fear and the resilience and ability to heal when shown compassion and love.

    AJ’s mother really followed through on what it takes to be a great mom. She didn’t have to value her son or show respect to the officers , but she did. Thank goodness her life was not too busy to take the time to demonstrate love and respect to her son. Thanks to her many, many people have been impacted in a positive manner.

  24. CTEmcomm says:

    I had tears running down my face. God bless AJ and his mom for showing all of us how strong the power of love can be.
    God bless all the Lakewood, Pierce County, Tacoma and Seatlle departments as they continue to deal with the loss of their officers.

  25. Elizabeth_Sheila says:

    The officer ended his story by saying none of that was about Christmas, but it was. CHRISTmas is about the birth of our savior. God gave us a supreme sacrifice – the gift of his only “begotten son.” That story and little boy were exactly about Christmas. Peace and love to all.

  26. icecreamlady211 says:


  27. juandd11 says:

    What an awesome story, gives one hope for the future of our country. Thank you for bring it to us. God Bless our officers.

  28. getitdone says:

    You said that your story did not really have to do with Christmas, but it does really. Because What the boy did, is the true meaning of Christmas! Being willing to give the best that you have out of the goodness in your heart! God uses all events for a positive end. Whether we realize it or not! THANK YOU for sharing this touching story. I was truly moved by the story. You see I lost my job a year ago,so this will be a very difficult Christmas, but with family and friends we all will get through.God bless everyone. Truly, “Merry Christmas”!.

  29. Gallium31 says:

    AJ’s story is the story of Abraham and Isaac in the Old Testament. The Spirit moved AJ to take his most beloved Bruno far from home, offer Bruno unconditionally in the spirit of sacrifice, and in Bruno’s place, AJ’s monetary life savings is willingly accepted. I have no doubt that all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice were standing there with AJ in spirit. May we all be given the grace to say “yes” when asked to give like AJ.

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