While kids having access to electronic devices has become a rather controversial topic, many people discussing the issue seem to assume that smartphone and other devices are a drain of resources and time.
Kids play games, watch mindless movies, write to friends in what looks like a foreign language, and some have their narcissistic tendencies highlighted — but honestly, all of that goes for adults, too.
Gabe Rongier used his access for good, and if it weren’t for him, a life could have been lost states away.
Gabe was using Snapchat when he saw something concerning that a young girl had shared. He didn’t know the girl personally, but they had a mutual friend, and she’d shared something about how she “wouldn’t be here tomorrow.”
The 12-year-old boy scout from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, didn’t like the sound of that, and decided to act on it.
“I called the suicidal prevention services and it linked me to Officer Chandler,” Gabe told KDKA. Chandler, in Texas, part of the New Saline Police Department, was able to locate the girl and check in on her. The next day, he called back the concerned 12-year-old.
“He went to her house, checked up on her,” Gabe revealed. “The next day he called me and said, ‘She’s fine. It’s real.’”
Police used geotracking to locate the girl and were able to get her in time to intervene.
“I was almost shocked to see it was a true story,” Fred, Gabe’s father, said. “I didn’t believe it at first, but I had to believe it. It’s really true.”
“When he went to bed, I always kiss him and, I’ve been telling him since that day, ‘you’re my little hero,’” the proud father said.
“Of course, I’m very proud of him, but I really hope that other young people his age might see the story and also be inspired to also take action to help somebody in need just like Gabe did,” the boy’s mother, Lori, said.
Gabe has received not only widespread fame online for his heroics, but he’s been honored by the New Saline Police Department with a police patch, a Challenge Coin, and a letter written by Officer Chandler.
“I feel relieved that she’s OK,” Gabe admitted. “I feel like I did something good.”