If not for the generosity of two Arlington police officers, a burglar might have ruined Christmas for Amber Jones and her five children.
Officers Cynthia Nickell and Joseph Heredia bought Christmas gifts for the Jones family after Heredia responded to Jones’ burglary call Wednesday afternoon.
“It hurt,” Jones said Thursday as she fought back tears, referring to the moment when she found out Wednesday that the gifts were gone. “I was going to wrap them [but then] I couldn’t find them.”
Once Heredia took the report, he knew what he had to do. He called his friend and fellow officer Nickell, who was a bridesmaid at his wedding.
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After their shift ended, Heredia and Nickell picked up Jones, took her to Wal-Mart and used their own money to buy new Christmas toys and clothes. The officers declined to say how much money they spent for the family.
“It was an opportunity to show someone we care,” Nickell said.
When they reached the cash register, Jones could not hold back her emotions.
“I started crying,” Jones said.
Heredia, who has been on the Arlington force for three years, said he had never run across such a Christmas burglary.
“We were in a position to help,” Heredia said.
“It was a special moment,” Nickell said.
Jones said Thursday that she held no ill will against the burglars.
Her 9-year-old daughter, Anabelle Mejia, was also kind to the Grinch.
“I just want to have a happy Christmas with my mom,” the girl said.
As for the officers, Heredia and Nickell said they still needed to do some late Christmas shopping.
The officers couldn’t believe their actions had stirred up the community.
“This is what we try to do every day,” Nickell said.