PENDER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - After a boy was bullied for dressing up as a sheriff’s deputy, local deputies and an officer stepped up to help.
Daniel Thigpen, a 2nd grader at Penderlea Elementary school, was excited to dress up as a Pender County Sheriff’s Deputy for career day at his school on Thursday
His mother, Lizzie Williamson, works as a dispatcher for the Pender County 911 Communications Center. She posted on Facebook about the situation and that’s when deputies reached out, wanting to help make Daniel feel better.
“I have a bunch of friends who are in law enforcement and he looks up to a lot of them and he looked at me not too long ago and was like ‘that’s what I want to do when I grow up’ and I thought that was great," said Williamson.
But career day took a bad turn. Daniel went home and told his mom that he was bullied for dressing as a deputy. He said his classmates told him he wasn’t good enough.
“I was disappointed that somebody would belittle somebody because they were wanting to be a law enforcement officer, but not just any law enforcement officer, but a deputy sheriff with Pender County," said Lt. James Cotten with the Pender County Sheriff’s Office.
When Lt. Cotten heard about what happened, he was eager to step in, along with several other deputies and an officer with the Burgaw Police Department.
Six deputies and the officer decided to surprise Daniel by escorting him to school Monday morning.
“His demeanor just turned from being a little boy not wanting to go to school, to very ecstatic and happy," said Lt. Cotten. "I mean the grin on his face… I swear it was from ear to ear. You could see all his teeth when he grinned.”
“It’s hard to put in words what it meant," said Williamson. “When they first came to me about it, I was very emotional. Because they didn’t have to do it. They did it because they wanted to.”
Williamson says she had a long talk with Daniel to remind him that he can be anything he wants to be and he is good enough to be a deputy. She says he still wants to be a deputy and she’s grateful that he didn’t let the mean words change his mind.
She took to Facebook Monday morning to share what the deputies had done for her son.
“I could not be more thankful for such an awesome group of people,” she wrote. “I absolutely love working with them and am honored to know such amazing people.”