Firefighters, cops surprise autistic boy, 5, at birthday party
Phoenix Lake was celebrating with police officers when firefighters arrived outside his home in a fire truck
By Chhun Sun
FOUNTAIN, Colo. — One of the hardest things Brandi Lake had to do took place a week ago when she had to tell her son — who has autism — that no one was coming to his 5th birthday party.
"Bud," she told him, "people are busy sometimes."
They invited a few of his friends and his classmates from Conrad Early Learning Center in Fountain, but no one accepted, Lake said. After seeing the sad look on Phoenix's face, the mom felt like she should try to do more.
So she contacted the Fountain Police Department on Wednesday.
In an email, she said, "I just had a question, it's odd and I can totally understand if no, but Sat. is my son's b-day, he has autism and can have a hard time in school and friends are hard to make. Everyone he invited has said no. Would any officers come by for cake and sandwiches?"
A couple hours later, the department sent a reply: "Count us in."
On Saturday, Phoenix got the surprise of his life. A handful of Fountain officers showed up at the family's Fountain home with toys and a birthday card signed by the entire department, joining the boy's parents, grandparents and aunts and uncles. While they were partying, Phoenix got another surprise: Fountain firefighters arrived in a fire truck, also bearing gifts.
It was a day to remember.
But of all the gifts he received, what the boy treasured most was a junior police badge from the officers. It was fitting, since Phoenix wants to become a police officer, his mom said.
Why a career in law enforcement?
"Because they help people," he said.
The party was an emotional experience for Brandi Lake, 26, who was crushed thinking about how to tell her son that no one was coming to his birthday party. "I tried to explain it to him," she said. "It was hard for me to say in words."
Brandi didn't expect Fountain police to get back to her. And she didn't expect such a large crowd to show up, considering that many of the officers were on duty at the time. Her heart melted at seeing the outcome, she said.
"It was very emotional and exciting," she said. "As a mom, you know, you want to keep the world warm and fuzzy but that's not possible. So for them to do that, it was amazing and humbling."