TEMPE, Ariz. — On any given day, you can find 4-year-old Gerald Philbrook zipping around a park in his new motorized tractor toy.
“I can go bunny speed and turtle speed,” said Gerald.
His green tractor covered in decals, complete with a plastic windshield that rises just a few inches above the hood, was given to him by the Tempe Police Department.
His old tractor was stolen the day after Easter, which was a hard loss because it was much more than just a toy.
“I didn’t feel great,” said Gerald.
He had discovered the old gator tractor discarded by a dumpster and saw its potential. Peter Philbrook, Gerald's dad, remembered how excited he was about it.
“The axle was broken. The wheels were broken,” said Steffanie Philbrook, Gerald's mom.
“It was in shambles,” said Peter.
Peter and Gerald spent the pandemic isolation rebuilding the old clunker together.
“It was a year-long memory with dad. It was our first son-dad project,” said Peter.
Two weeks after reviving the tractor, it was stolen. That’s when Peter posted on Facebook asking for help in locating the sentimental 4-wheeler.
Their story touched Tempe Police Sgt. Brooks and his wife, prompting the department to deliver a little happiness.
Gerald’s parents believe he is getting more than fun from his new ride, he’s getting a lesson.
“Accepting it from the Tempe Police was definitely about making an impact in his life, for the better,” said Steffanie.