FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Fort Lauderdale police officer Aaron Baxter responded to a "typical call where a kid was refusing to go to school" Tuesday morning, he said on Facebook.
Baxter said he rolled his eyes. When he responded to the call, what he found moved him to go above and beyond the call of duty.
"After talking to this sobbing 12-year-old girl, I found out she had been wearing the same outfit since school started," Baxter said on Facebook.
Broward County schools opened a week ago. Baxter has seven daughters. As a seasoned road patrol officer, he was able to hear the sincerity in the teen's voice and felt compelled to help her, Fort Lauderdale Detective DeAnna Greenlaw said.
Baxter made a deal with the girl, police identified as Nathilia. If she didn't miss school today, he was going to take her and her aunt back-to-school shopping after school. One of his Facebook friends shared his post with Local 10 News.
After he finished his shift at the police station, 1300 West Broward Blvd., about 2:15 p.m., he went to meet the smiley girl and her aunt at Target, 3200 N. Federal Highway, in Fort Lauderdale.
Back to school shopping is expensive. The National Retail Federation estimates that parents spend an average of $634 on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics. Within hours of the incident, Baxter collected $400 in donations that included $300 from a Target employee.
"If I can save this child's dignity and keep her from getting ridiculed by her peers, I will," Baxter said on Facebook.