It was supposed to be a day full of fun and laughter. Donald and Crystal Howard had gone to the store to pick up facepaint for their children’s Halloween costumes.
Back at home, Justin, 13, Amiah, 10, Daimean, 8, and Trayvion, 6, eagerly waited in their costumes for their parents to return.
Sadly, that moment would never come. Donald and Crystal were killed in a tragic car accident less than a mile from their house.
Trooper Nathan Bradley was given the heart-wrenching task of checking in on the kids and giving them the awful news. Police contacted the kids’ grandmother and asked her to get the children, but she lived in another state and wouldn’t be able to make it for at least seven hours.
Faced with a heartbreaking situation, Bradley just couldn’t bring himself to break the news to the kids. He also decided he didn’t want to call the Department of Family and Child Services while they waited for the grandmother to arrive.
“Not only would these children discover they lost both parents, but would spend their Halloween in a county jail until somebody could tend to them; it just wasn’t right,” he said.
Instead, Bradley decided to give the kids a few more hours of blissful innocence before their world came crashing down around them.
Instead of telling the kids their parents had died and putting them into state custody, Bradley had them all pile into his car. He took the kids to McDonald’s and Burger King for fries and milkshakes, bought them candy and ice cream, gave them a tour of the police station, and let them hang out and watch movies and read magazines.
For one more night, these kids were allowed to be kids without the awful weight of their parents’ passing hanging over their heads.
“He was their angel,” a report from Fox News stated.
Later on, Bradley recalled how difficult the night was for him, knowing the tragedy that had occurred.
“As we made our way to the post, the boys celebrated me ‘being the best cop ever,’” he said. “They didn’t know I was bearing terrible news, so I struggled to accept the praise.”
The next day, the kids were told the gut-wrenching news.
The four siblings are now living in Florida with their grandmother, but even though they left the state, Bradley couldn’t get them out of his mind. They had touched his heart deeply and he wanted to do what he could to help them in the difficult months ahead.
He decided to set up a GoFundMe campaign which has since raised over $500,000 for this special family!
While nothing can ease the horrible pain of losing their parents, we’re glad Trooper Bradley was on hand that night to show these kids some love and compassion. They will never forget what he did for them that night – and neither will we.
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