Bob Paul, 47, a Woodbridge, New Jersey firefighter, was surprised when he received a call from the local police department dispatcher, saying that a 911 call had been made from his home.
Paul had been relaxing on the couch with his family when the call came, and immediately realized his 12-year-old son Ryan, who has autism, was missing.
While playing in his room, Ryan had misplaced his favorite toy, a miniature teddy bear named Freddy. So he called 911 — for a teddy bear rescue!
Paul quickly apologized to the dispatcher, explaining that there was no true emergency. However, because of the department’s policy regarding 911 call hang ups, an officer was required to visit the home.
Woodbridge officer Khari Manzini soon arrived at the family's residence.
“We came as fast as we could. Ryan was very happy to see me and I was actually happy to see him,” Manzini recounted to News 12 New Jersey.
When Paul explained to Manzini that his son had autism, the officer was “very gracious and kind,” says Paul, and engaged in a conversation with Ryan about the lost toy.
“It was nice for the officer to ask about [the teddy bear]. He said he just had to make sure it was okay,” Paul said.
As one commenter said: "And that right there should go viral for more reasons then one...all about understanding!"
Paul believes that the training Manzini underwent, called Autism Shield, helped him respond in a kind and compassionate manner.
POAC Autism Services, the non-profit organization that conducts the training for Woodbridge police, firefighters and EMTs, has trained over 67,000 New Jersey first responders from every county in the state, according to a statement from the organization.
“I am proud to say that the training has been credited with saving children's lives throughout our state,” POAC Autism Services Assistant Director Simone Tellini said to NBC News.
Paul said that he is encouraged by how much publicity his son’s story has received.
“I want parents to know that there’s good out there. It’s great training for officers to receive,” he added.
In the end, the Paul family found and rescued Freddy without the help of police.
In a Facebook post, Paul wrote: “I’m a little offended my son didn’t get me (a firefighter) to help with the rescue.”