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Police officer shows up for 911 party invite from Steveston teen

David Zhu, 14, was inspired to embark on a fitness journey after a heartwarming interaction with the RCMP.

A teen was inspired to get serious about fitness after his 911 blunder turned into a lasting friendship with a Richmond RCMP officer.

Earlier this month, 14-year-old David Zhu invited his heroes to a New Year's party the only way he knew how — by calling 911.

"I like (to invite) people to come to my home. I always make new friends at parties. I (wanted to) be (friends) with a police officer," he told the Richmond News.

"I like (that) the police officers make our community safe... I wish I could be one of them in the future."

David's mother, Sophie Zhang, said he had hung up quickly after he realized he had made a mistake.

But the RCMP officer called David back, and upon hearing Zhang's explanation that David was autistic and admired police officers, decided to take David up on his offer.

David's parents had told the officer that David was going through puberty and he struggles with sensory integration dysfunction and balance issues. Learning that David struggled to keep up with exercising, which would greatly benefit him, the officer decided to give him a little nudge.

"I told him I wanted to be a police officer... He said I need an exercise plan and work on my muscles," David recalled.

"I had a weekly exercise plan ready right after the party."

The officer promised to become David's big brother, and returned the next day with a goody bag for David filled with RCMP stationery and clothes, his portrait, as well as a handwritten letter.

He has also stayed in touch with David's father, Frank Zhu, and checks up on David regularly.

Frank said he was touched and thankful to the officer, who became a much-needed role model for David.

"The officer was very enthusiastic and helped us out a lot. He made a huge impact on David," Frank explained.

911 calls a 'crucial lifeline' for those in need, says Richmond RCMP

Cpl. Dennis Hwang, Richmond RCMP spokesperson, said police take every emergency call seriously "as it is a crucial lifeline for those in need of immediate assistance.

“We took this opportunity to embrace the situation at-hand as both a teaching moment and an opportunity to give back with a simple act of genuine kindness,” he explained.

“We encourage parents and guardians to engage in conversations with their children about the proper use of 9-1-1. Education is key in ensuring that our emergency lines are available for those in urgent need.

"However, we also understand that misunderstandings can occur, and we strive to handle these situations with sensitivity."

Inspired by the RCMP officer's mentorship, David now attends basketball and fitness lessons every week.

"He's very passionate about it and we're staying by his side," said his mother Zhang.

Zhang told the News she received dozens of heartwarming messages from RCMP officers from all over Canada after she posted the story to Chinese social media platform Little Red Book.

David's parents explained they're grateful for all the kindness they experienced over their past 11 years living in Canada. Apart from their experience with the Richmond RCMP officer, the family also recalls many kind encounters with individuals in the education system and David's classmates.

"The Canadian society is very compassionate and there are many kind people in Canada," said Frank.

"David was able to grow up with a very bright personality and a great mindset. He's very happy every day."

Got an opinion on this story or any others in Richmond? Send us a letter or email your thoughts or story tips to Editor@Richmond-News.com.

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