Acts of Kindness
Cop finds out about teen’s difficult home life and makes him part of his family
Officer Sheffert could tell something wasn't right after stopping the 16-year-old on the street. Yet, what he didn't know at the time is that the troubled high schooler would end up under his roof.
Jessica
07.14.22

“There’s officers who do this every day…officers who do it all the time.”

These are the words of Officer Brandon Sheffert, who was out on a routine patrol one night in September 2014.

YouTube - CNN
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YouTube - CNN

A life-changing moment

Sheffert works for the police department in Peoria, Arizona. Now, he’s a spokesman for the department; but on that night, he was a patrol officer who noticed something that just didn’t seem right to him – a teen running down the street.

Naturally, he stopped to check it out.

“We were just driving around patrolling, and we noticed this kid who was sprinting down 85th Avenue,” Sheffert told the local FOX 10 news station. “We were kinda like, ‘this is odd. Nobody sprints like that, so let’s stop this kid.'”

The kid in question was 16-year-old Anthony Schultz, who was simply out for a jog.

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YouTube - CNN

A nagging feeling

Sheffert talked to Schultz, who told the officer he was ok. But there was clearly more to the story.

“Something about it bugged me, because I couldn’t get through to him,” Sheffert said. “He just seemed like there was something going on, and that there was something that was hurtful going on that he would[n’t] say.”

Pexels - Kindel Media
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Pexels - Kindel Media

At 16 years old, that could be just about anything. Sheffert, realizing he wasn’t going to get the full story from the boy that night, made it a point to drive past his apartment complex regularly just to make sure all was well.

Becoming a role model

The officer eventually befriended the teen, who lived in a one-bedroom apartment with seven of his family members. He wanted to make sure Schultz was staying out of trouble.

“I kept coming over here, talking to him, spending time with him, getting to know him, getting to know the family, understand what’s going on,” said Sheffert.

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YouTube - CNN

It turns out that gesture made all the difference. Eventually, the two entered the local YMCA’s Reach & Rise Program so that Sheffert could become the teen’s “official” mentor.

Schultz calls Sheffert his role model and told the local news that he had found someone he could aspire to be like.

Not long after that, it became hard to tell who belonged to whose family. Sheffert was happy to stop by and see Shultz at his apartment while also inviting him to join in on his own family get-togethers.

YouTube - CNN
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YouTube - CNN

Trouble comes

The happy story could end there, but it doesn’t. A bigger challenge lay ahead for the pair of friends. The teen’s family life was less than stable. That’s when Schultz’s mother reached out in desperation.

“It got to a point one night where I get a phone call,” Sheffert told FOX 10. “You need to come take him. I can’t take him anymore. I was like, ‘whoa, whoa, whoa. That doesn’t make sense.'”

The details are private family matters, but Sheffert and his wife believed the best thing for the now-17-year-old was to stay with them for a few days. And while things got better back at his home, once Schultz turned 18, he became homeless.

“This kid just keeping getting hit over and over with things that no kid should have to go through,” said Sheffert.

Part of the family

Sheffert and his wife decided they genuinely wanted to ensure the teen stayed safe. He was no longer a child legally, but they knew 18 was still way too young to be out on his own, especially if he was going to stay out of trouble.

That’s when they offered up their home to Schultz long-term.

“We have taken him in as one of our own,” Sheffert said. “Even my kids say he’s their big brother, and they love it.”

YouTube - CNN
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YouTube - CNN

After moving in, Schultz was grateful to become a true member of the family, even taking vacations with the Shefferts. He got his first job, learned to drive, and had a stable environment for the first time.

“I don’t have to worry about food,” Schultz told FOX 10. “I don’t have to worry about other things some kids shouldn’t have to worry about.”

YouTube - CNN
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YouTube - CNN

One person can make a difference

No one knows what the future would have been like for Anthony Schultz had the officer not stopped to talk to him that night in 2014. The teen thinks that moment is what may have kept him from traveling down the wrong path and ending up in jail.

In 2017, Shultz became the first person in his family to graduate on time in 30 years. And he had nothing but hope for the future.

YouTube - CNN
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YouTube - CNN

The grateful young man told CNN:

“He taught me skills. He’s the reason I’ve gotten my first few jobs. He’s given me the ability to look forward into the Army and pick careers that I could do. He’s taught me everything I need to know. Stuff I didn’t know before.”

Be sure to scroll down below and check out CNN’s heartwarming interview with the pair of pals.

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By Jessica
hi@sbly.com
Jessica is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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