From Rob Bailey-Millado @ New York Post: If they Snap something, say something. That’s what one 12-year-old Pittsburgh boy did after spotting a disturbing Snapchat posted by a little girl living more than a thousand miles across the country in Texas.
Gabe Rongier only shared one mutual connection with her, so he didn’t know for sure the girl wasn’t pranking when she posted she “wouldn’t be here tomorrow.” But he couldn’t ignore her desperate cry for help.
Today, the boy scout and aspiring SWAT officer from Fox Chapel is being hailed as a “little hero.”
Gabe thought fast and dialed a suicide prevention hotline. The tele-counselors connected Gabe to an “Officer Chandler” from the Grand Saline Police Department in East Texas.
“He went to her house [and] checked up on her,” Gabe tells CBS Pittsburgh. “The next day he called me and said, ‘She’s fine. It’s real’ … I feel relieved that she’s OK. I feel like I did something good.”
Using a geo-tracking device to locate the distressed girl’s home, the officers say they intervened just in time to save her life. This week, Gabe received a package containing a Grand Saline Police Department patch and a traditional law enforcement “Challenge Coin.”
The enclosed letter from K9 Officer McKenzie Chandler reads: “It takes a big man to do what you did.”
Gabe’s proud parents, Fred and Lori Rongier, admit they thought it was just another online hoax at first.
“I was almost shocked to see it was a true story. I didn’t believe it at first — but I had to believe it,” Fred says. “When he went to bed, I always kiss him, [but] I’ve been telling him since that day, ‘You’re my little hero.’ ”
Mama Lori adds, “Of course I’m proud of him but really I hope other young people his age might see the story and be inspired to take action and help somebody in need.”
Grand Saline Police Chief Jeremy Barker says that certainly could happen, telling Pittsburgh’s ABC Action 4 News, “It’s reassuring to know there are kids out there like Gabriel who showed bravery and heroism in doing the right thing for someone else.”