A young cop is wreaking chaos in the police department and has become a laughing stock for his coworkers since joining the job. One day, his clumsy fate takes a U-turn when he visits a ‘missing’ old lady’s house and hears a morse code from behind her door.
It was a bright sunny morning for the police department as Jared, or as his newfound job title would identify him, Officer Jared, walked into the police station in a crisp, pristine uniform and a cup of steaming Americano in his hands.
Today was going to be an amazing day. Jared would not make errors, and he would not take his colleague’s criticism personally.
“Look, we have Jared the Trainwreck here! What are you gonna wreck today, huh, Jared?” someone called after him. The young man didn’t bother. He calmly got into the creaking chair at his work desk and switched on his computer monitor. But as you might have guessed by now, Jared’s fate had always been funny and embarrassing to him at the most inappropriate moments.
“Damn! Oh no, no! God!” he cried minutes later, inadvertently knocking the coffee cup over on the case files that lay on the table.
Jared’s colleagues burst into laughter and couldn’t get enough of mocking the man. Poor Jared was bullied again. He scrambled to wipe the table, and when he tossed the coffee-stained paper tissues into the trash can, tears welled up in his eyes. This is not how he pictured his life as a cop…
Jared’s late father was in the police force too, and he had instilled the value of protecting and serving the country in him. As a kid, Jared would dress himself up in his father’s oversized police uniform and cap and admire himself in the mirror.
“Daddy! Look, I’m going to be a cop like you!” he’d tell his father.
And Jared’s father would smile, assuring him that he would. “There’s no doubt about that, young man! You’ll make a brave officer someday!” he’d say.
But his words turned out to be only partially true. Jared did become a cop, but he wasn’t a brave one. He was an insecure young cop who had recently joined the force.
His colleagues often said he was better off working at a grocery, but Jared was bent on proving them wrong. He had dreamed of becoming a cop like his father, after all. Unfortunately, the more he attempted to prove himself, the more he failed and got into problems.
He once cuffed a young teen following an older lady, mistaking him for a thief trying to steal her expensive purse. When the older lady spotted him taking the kid, she charged at him, aggressively poking and twisting her cane into his stomach, and smacked him with her handbag.
“Ouch! Ouch!” cried Jared.
“He’s my nephew!” she growled. “Get lost, you incompetent cop!”
The other time Jared arrested a man for ‘breaking’ his neighbor’s lock, and it turned out the neighbor had asked him to do it and get their kitty out after accidentally locking her inside.
That’s the kind of mess Jared had created since joining the station. So while his colleagues were working on serious cases, he was looking for missing cats and dogs and assisting elderly residents in the town in safeguarding their trash from raccoons.
One who upholds human values and helps those in need is the one who wins praises and hearts.
As Jared walked back to his desk from the trash can, he contemplated if he was cut out to be a cop. What had he achieved since day one of joining the line of duty? Nothing noteworthy, after all.
Suddenly, the station phone rang, jolting Jared out of his depressed my-career-is-doomed-as-a-cop thoughts.
Senior Officer West answered the phone as usual. “Yes? All right, hmm. Are you certain? We’ll send someone to check on her. Okay, okay, okay. Thanks.”
“Oh, Jared!” Officer West called out, and Jared turned to face him. “There’s a lady… a Mrs. Barrera. Her neighbors haven’t seen her in three days, it turns out. They’re guessing she’s missing, although they hardly ever saw her leaving the house. Would you mind accompanying Ryan and checking on her?”
Jared smiled and brushed his tears away. “I don’t mind at all!” he exclaimed. He was actually looking forward to his first case involving a human! No cats or dogs, or raccoons littering the trash this time!
“I think I know—” Jared began, but Officer Ryan cut him off.
“Ah, you know these old folks! She was probably sleeping in her basement or something and didn’t notice the doorbell ring. We’ve seen similar cases before, haven’t we? Come on, West! I’ve got another important case, and I need you on it, too. Send this fool alone,” he said, pointing to Jared. “Not like he does anything worthwhile at the station.”
“Actually, her area falls under your supervision; therefore, you and Jared are going out together,” Officer West stated, raising his cold gaze from the computer screen to Officer Ryan.
“Look,” Officer West explained, “I’m your senior, and I never boss you guys around, but this woman who called me seemed uptight, and she said they usually saw Mrs. Barrera watering the plants in her garden. She hasn’t done it in three days, and she isn’t answering the door. And the neighbors have reported hearing unusual knocks and movements in the house.”
“All right, whatever!” Officer Ryan rolled his eyes as he stood up, grabbed his police cap, and walked out of the station.
“Best of luck, Jared. Please keep me in the loop!” Officer West said as Jared rushed out after Officer Ryan.
The two cops then drove to older Mrs. Barrera’s house, which had a wide lawn, pristine white picket fences, and a lovely porch.
“This lady has called the station several times,” Jared said quietly, looking out the car window at the house.
“I—I know her,” Jared said as he turned to face Officer Ryan. “This lady who called us at the station… she once asked us to find her lost cat, but the cat was simply lurking in the bushes. I found the cat for her. Days later, she ran away again, and this time, I found her in the bushes again… dead.”
“For Christ’s sake, Jared, are you going to sit here all day narrating stories or go check on that old lady? I really hope you don’t get to live till 78! You’ll be just as obnoxious as this older woman!” Officer Ryan grumbled. “Don’t keep staring at my face now! Get down and check if she’s fine!”
“Aren’t you, like, joining me?” he asked, and all he got in answer was Officer Ryan’s unkind words about how he didn’t deserve to be a cop. Dejected, Jared went to check on Mrs. Barrera by himself.
He first knocked on the neighbor’s door, who had called the station and expressed concern about the older lady. She said Mrs. Barrera had never missed a single church service, but that Sunday, she didn’t show up at church and had not watered the plants in her garden since that day.
As Jared climbed the steps to the front porch of Mrs. Barrera’s house, he looked around. Nothing appeared to be wrong. Everything was in place, and the house lights were on, indicating that the house wasn’t empty. Jared rang the doorbell and knocked on the door.
“Mrs. Barrera? Are you there?” he asked. “I’m Officer Jared. I once saved your neighbor’s kitten!”
There was no response.
“Look, Mrs. Barrera, if you don’t answer, I’ll have to break the door!” he shouted. “Is there another way to enter the house?”
Suddenly, Jared heard a weak thud. He pressed his ear to the door and heard several such faint thuds. Something was very wrong.
“Mrs. Barrera, is that you?” he asked, and there was a thud again.
Jared knew what to do. “Okay, Mrs. Barrera, we’re going to play a little game here, alright? Just knock, or you know, do the thud thing if you can hear me.”
There was a thud.
“Good, good. Very good. Now… are you in trouble?”
There was another thud. But before Jared could ask another question, there were several thuds and scratching sounds, as if someone was dragging something across the floor.
“What’s that?” Jared asked himself. He listened to the pattern intently, and his brows arched when he realized what it was.
“Mrs. Barrera!” he cried. “Is that a morse code? Are you using the thuds as dots and the scratching as dashes?”
THERE WAS A THUD.
“Bingo!” cried Jared. “Okay, Mrs. Barrera, now what you’re going to do is repeat the pattern from the very start, okay? I’ve got a tissue in my pocket, and…” he hastily pulled out a tissue and pen, “And I’m going to write that down, alright?”
Jared gave Mrs. Barrera some instructions and jotted down the dots and dashes she was trying to indicate. His heartbeat fastened when he looked at the tissue after finishing his writing.
“HELP!” was what Mrs. Barrera was trying to say. She was in danger!
Jared immediately called Officer Ryan for help, but the senior cop wasn’t ready to listen to him. “How long does it take for you to check on a person, huh? Did you invite a new problem? Why are you always getting in trouble, Jared? So, what exactly is it this time? Is it a cat, mouse, dog, or raccoon in her cellar creating those strange noises the neighbors hear?”
“Officer Ryan,” Jared said in a trembling voice. “Mrs. Barrera is in danger! She—she’s asking for help in Morse code, and—”
“Morse code?” he laughed. “Kid, are you hallucinating? You’re too young for such memory issues! You think an old lady like her would use Morse code?”
“I swear to God! I need your help in breaking down her door. To be safe, I’m calling the paramedics. I’m worried about why she can’t talk!” Jared just hung up and dialed the paramedics.
“Did he just hang up on me?” Officer Ryan jumped out of his cruiser and ran up the steps to Mrs. Barrera’s house, enraged. He would have probably said a few more hurtful things to Jared if the man hadn’t asked Mrs. Barrera additional questions and received responses in thuds before the sounds stopped.
“Damn, we need to speed up! We need to break the door!” Officer Ryan realized.
When the two officers broke Mrs. Barrera’s door, they found her unconscious in the middle of the living room, with her old cane beside her.
“She was probably knocking with her cane,” Jared speculated. Officer Ryan was ashamed that he had doubted Jared. Fortunately, paramedics arrived on the scene just in time, and Mrs. Barrera was taken to the hospital.
The doctors said that if they had waited any longer to bring her to the hospital, the results might have been disastrous. Mrs. Barrera had broken her hip a few days ago and was so weak she couldn’t even get up.
Due to the pain, she could barely speak, and since the door was way out of her reach, she couldn’t answer it. Thankfully, she knew what morse code was and could do it using her cane. But by the time they broke open her door, her strength gave out, and she fainted.
Jared decided to visit Mrs. Barrera and was taken aback when he ran into the head of the state police department, who was also visiting her. What surprised him the most was when the senior officer approached him and shook hands with him.
“Thank you for saving my late colleague’s mother, officer!” he said. “You must’ve seen Officer Barrera’s photo at our police department,” he added, seeing Jared’s puzzled expression. Jared nodded.
“Officer Barrera sacrificed his life in the line of duty. Mrs. Barrera has been living alone since his death, and none of her family members have visited her. She is late Officer Barrera’s mother.”
“I feel awful. I haven’t been able to check on her often, either. But you made us proud today. You saved her life. Thank you,” he added, and Jared’s cheeks flushed red. “I simply did my job, sir,” Jared said politely.
“Your late father will be very proud of you, Jared,” the police chief suddenly said. “I knew him! His son followed in his footsteps and became a good officer like he had always wanted. Keep it up, Officer Jared!”
Jared almost teared up. He had never imagined he would receive such praise or a medal for his act a week later.
After Mrs. Barrera was discharged from the hospital, Jared visited her one day and was surprised to find the head of the police department there. Again!
Little did Jared know the police chief would disclose something that would shock him.
“Sir, I didn’t expect you to see here!” Jared said, and his senior couldn’t look him in the eyes.
He then revealed to Jared he was Mrs. Barrera’s nephew and felt ashamed about not visiting her often. “You sort of opened my eyes, Jared. I kept putting off visiting her because of my work. After what happened, I realized I could’ve lost her. I want to make it up to her and visit her more often.”
Jared felt terrible for Mrs. Barrera and began visiting her from time to time, bringing her food and helping her around the house. He sometimes joined his senior, and over time, they became friends.
During one of their visits, Mrs. Barrera revealed her late son taught her Morse code, which saved her life and turned Jared’s career around.
Since the incident, everyone in the department has praised his bravery and grown to admire and appreciate the brave and confident cop Jared is now. He’s no longer the laughing stock, and he has indeed made his late father proud.
What can we learn from this story?
One who upholds human values and helps those in need is the one who wins praises and hearts. Everyone dissed Jared and laughed at him for being an incompetent cop until he saved Mrs. Barrera’s life.
Nothing can replace a family, so cherish your loved ones. The head of the police department realized he was wrong to put work above family when he almost lost Mrs. Barrera.
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.