Imagine it’s Halloween night: you’re a kid dressed up and ready to go trick-or-treating, so your parents run to the store for candy and makeup to make your costume complete.
Instead of mom and dad returning home with chocolate and face paint, you’re greeted by a state trooper at the door.
This is unfortunately the grim reality for four Georgia children who lost both parents in a deadly car accident on October 31.
According to FOX 5 News, Donald and Crystal Howard were driving home Saturday when Donald lost control of their car on a slippery roadway and hit a tree.
The couple reportedly died on the scene.
Georgia State Trooper, Nathan Bradley, had the job of breaking the news their children, who greeted him at the door dressed in their Halloween costumes.
Instead of ruining their holiday this year and many years to come, Trooper Bradley asked the childrens’ grandma if he could wait until November 1 to tell them.
“The first thing I said was, ‘Hey lets go get something to eat,’” Trooper Bradley tells 11 Alive News. “They said, ‘My parents will be here soon.’ I said, ‘Your Grandma wants you to hang out with me till she gets here.”
The siblings, ranging in ages six through thirteen, were treated to dinner, movies, Halloween candy at the Monroe State Patrol post and a sleepover, so they wouldn’t be turned over to The Department of Family and Child Services.
He stayed with the children for 12 hours until their closest relative, grandmother Stephanie Oliver, arrived the next morning from Florida.
But Trooper Bradley’s kindness didn’t stop there. The 25-year-old created aGoFundMe page of the family that raised over $63,000 by thousands of people in just 24 hours.
The children didn’t just lose their parents, they lost their teacher and principal, too. They were homeschooled by their mom, who was reportedly the teacher, while their father was the principal.
Trooper Bradley, who isn’t even a father yet, says he truly cares about the kids.
“It’s the first time in the line of duty I told someone I loved them, and I do love them,” Bradley explains.
While Bradley claims he’s not a “touchy feely kind of guy,” he’s apparently known in the community for his heart of gold.
Alicia Steward posted this photo on Facebook of her nephew, Morgan, who suffers from a Spinal Muscular Atrophy:
“I took this photo of trooper Bradley and my nephew Morgan a few weeks ago. Trooper Bradley is AWESOME!! When I saw the broadcast I knew just who he was. God bless you Bradley!! Prayers for the family.”
The children’s grandmother, Stephanie, remembers her son, who was retired from the military, and daughter-in-law as two people who were very much in love for the past 15 years.
“You couldn’t get one to go anywhere without the other one,” Oliver says. “That’s how much they loved each other.”
Oliver says she’s forever grateful for Trooper Bradley’s compassion toward her grandchildren.
“He took care of my kids when they needed them. He was there for them, all the way. Halloween they didn’t even have a clue.”
The Howard children have since traveled to Florida with their grandma, where they’ll start their new lives.