In Phoenix, Arizona, a 26-year-old mother stared down at her son who was dying of leukemia. (That is a cancer in the blood.) Her heart was filled with sadness; like any parent she wanted her son to grow up and to fulfill all his dreams. Now that was no longer possible. The leukemia would see to that. But she still wanted her son’s dreams to come true.
She took his little hand into hers, and asked, “Billy, did you ever think about what you wanted to be when you grew up?”
“Mommy, I always wanted to be a fireman when I grew up.”
Mom smiled back and said, “Let’s see if we can make that happen now.”
Later that day she went to her local fire department where she met Fireman Bob. She explained her six-year-old son’s wish and asked if it might be possible to give him a ride around the block on a fire engine.
Fireman Bob said, “Look, we can do better than that. If you’ll have your son ready at seven o’clock Wednesday morning, we’ll make him an honorary fireman for the whole day. He can come down to the fire station, eat with us, go out on all the fire calls—the whole nine yards! And if you’ll give us his sizes, we’ll get a real fire uniform for him, with a real fire hat—not a toy one, but one with the emblem of the Phoenix Fire Department on it—a yellow slicker like we wear, and rubber boots. They’re all manufactured right here in Phoenix, so we can get them fast.”
Three days later Fireman Bob escorted Billy, dressed in his fire uniform, from his hospital bed to the waiting hook and ladder truck. Billy got to sit on the back of the truck and help steer it back to the fire station. He was thrilled!
There were three fire calls in Phoenix that day, and Billy got to go out on all three calls. He rode in the different fire engines, in the paramedic’s van, and even in the fire chief’s car. He was also videotaped for the local news program.
One night, several weeks later, all of Billy’s vital signs began to drop dramatically, and the head nurse, who believed that no one should die alone, began to call the family members to the hospital. Then she remembered the day Billy had spent as a fireman, so she called the fire chief and asked if it would be possible to send a fireman in uniform to the hospital to be with Billy as he died.
The chief replied, “We can do better than that. We’ll be there in five minutes. Will you please do me a favor? When you hear the sirens screaming and see the lights flashing, announce over the PA system that there is no fire, it’s just the fire department coming to see one of its finest members one more time. And will you open the window to his room?”
About five minutes later a hook and ladder truck arrived at the hospital and extended its ladder up to Billy’s third floor open window. Sixteen firefighters climbed up the ladder into Billy’s room. With his mother’s permission, they hugged him and held him and told him how much they loved him.
With his dying breath, Billy looked up at the fire chief and asked, “Chief, am I really a fireman now?”
“Billy, you are,” the chief said.
I believe that friends are like angels who lift us to our feet when we have trouble. We can be that kind of friend. Even though you might be young, you can do a good deed for someone. Put your arm around a friend who feels bad, and let them know that you love them.
In God’s law there are ten commands. The first four commands tell us how to love and worship God, but the last six tell us how to love and care for each other.
It is very important to Jesus that we be kind to each other and love each other—then, He says, people will really know that we are His children.