PEORIA, Ariz. — A selfless 8-year-old in Peoria gave up his birthday gifts so that other kids could have Christmas, and when the Glendale Police Department found out about it, officers decided to throw him a party anyway.
It started in July when Jaden Simmonds told his mother Krystle that he didn’t want gifts for his birthday.
“He decided that he didn’t want gifts and asked if people would donate toys,” Krystle Simmonds said. "I was very proud of him. The fact that he thought of others instead of himself was a very proud moment.”
Krystle put the word out on Facebook that her son didn’t want toys for his birthday; instead, he wanted to give toys to others. Would anyone like to donate?
Dozens of toys, nearly 100 of them, came back to Jaden.
Jaden initially wanted to give the toys to a local hospital where sick and injured kids could enjoy them, but there were some issues with bringing used items into a sterile hospital setting.
At Christmas, however, Jaden and Krystle found the right place: the Salvation Army Angel Tree at Arrowhead Mall.
Glendale Police Officer Jeff Alloway and Commander Ryan Horrall were helping out at the mall when Jaden walked in with all those toys.
“This was a red bin with wheels. It was big. And there were a lot of gifts inside there,” Commander Horrall remembered.
When Alloway, Horrall, and the other Glendale officers heard that Jaden had given up birthday gifts so that other kids could have Christmas gifts, they were moved.
“Most 8-year-olds I don’t know of that would give up their birthday party and gifts to do this, so we were all pretty touched by that gesture,” Officer Alloway said.
Glendale police threw Jaden a birthday party Friday at Urban Air in Peoria. They even gifted him a Nintendo Switch and games, something he might have gotten in July had he done what most kids do, and asked his parents for birthday presents.
“He had no idea we were going to do anything for him,” Commander Horrall said.
The officers just wanted to encourage Jaden’s good deed.
“It’s a great feeling to do this on behalf of the Glendale Police Department,” Officer Alloway said.
Up to Speed
Catch up on the latest news and stories on the 12 News YouTube channel. Subscribe today.