All of us can benefit from having role models, especially when we’re young. Unfortunately, some children won’t get the opportunity to have one because of unforeseen circumstances.
Daniel Rodriguez from California is one of these people.
Rodriguez’s father was incarcerated before his birth, and the man was around for much of the boy’s youth.
As a result, Rodriguez didn’t have a father figure growing up.
No matter what your childhood is like, having a dad present can be important to your growth.
And given his father was involved with the law, there would be times where police officers would come to the Rodriguez family home and make sure that everyone was doing fine.
The whole time, the boy never kept a grudge against law enforcement, as he knew that they were just doing their job when it came to his father’s situation.
In fact, Rodriguez ended up wanting to become a police officer—as a teenager, he joined a certain program to help him do so.
Among the cops participating in this was veteran officer Jason Perkins.
This officer was a mentor in the Police Explorer’s program for young kids hoping to become officers in the future—the same program Rodriguez was in.
And upon hearing Rodriguez’s story, Perkins decided that he would be the one to help shape the kid’s future.
“It’s step up and and be that person in his life, or turn and walk away,” Perkins told CBS News.
When Rodriguez was struggling in high school, Perkins was there to keep him in check. The young man would discuss things with Perkins that he didn’t want to talk to his mother about.
And the officer was willing to listen to every word.
Having someone to talk to helped Rodriguez immensely while growing up, and Perkins looked at him as if he was one of his own.
“He’s the son I never had,” Perkins said.
Perkins stuck with Rodriguez into adulthood, right up to the point at which Rodriguez graduated from police academy.
Rodriguez was able to become a police officer, thanks to this one man who went out of his way to make sure the youth had a future.
“He would always tell me, ‘I’m not here to replace your father,’ but he was able to fill that void of that male figure that I didn’t have growing up,” Rodriguez said.
The man even calls Perkins “Pops” to this day.
As of today, Rodriguez is in the same position Perkins was in when they met—leading a police explorer program and mentoring kids.
And it seems that Perkins has the utmost confidence in the man to do well.
“My career is winding down. But his is just getting started,” Perkins said. “He’ll do 100 times what I ever did in my career.”
Because Perkins took on the role of father figure to Rodriguez, both are better off for it.