Police officers have hard, often thankless jobs. From traffic safety to criminal apprehension, they put their lives on the line — and many times have to deliver disappointing news to members of the community, putting them in a position where they’re more disliked or feared than anything else.
Sometimes, though, they’re given the golden opportunity to help make dreams a reality.
Officers Dale Anderson and Doug Lofthouse were out on their traffic patrol one day when they noticed an elderly man by the side of the road, attempting to change his own tire.
A quick survey of the situation told the cops that the gentleman’s car wasn’t fit to drive, even if he did manage to replace the tire roadside.
He’d been in a collision with a truck, and it didn’t look like the car was going to make it.
The officers offered to give the man a ride back home, but he was adamant — he needed to fix his car. And soon, he explained why, much to their heartbreak.
The man was actually 91-year-old World War II veteran Bill Mountfield, and he needed his car so desperately so he could catch a ferry to Holland to meet up with a group of his fellow veterans. A former paratrooper who played a key role in the British war efforts during one of the world’s most deadly conflicts, he had stayed in touch with a number of his fellow surviving soldiers over the decades that followed.
This reunion trip was supposed to be a long one. He was on his way to spend five weeks over the Christmas holidays with the other veterans, and he was devastated at the thought of missing it.
After outliving the rest of his family, including his wife and children, he refused to see his efforts at reaching the reunion in Holland thwarted by a little roadside collision.
“He’s maybe from a generation where, ‘it’ll physically work, it’ll do’,” one of the officers surmised.
Unfortunately, modern-day road regulations don’t quite let that fly anymore, so the officers tried to figure out an alternative.
They attempted to call a rental car service to find him a loaner to reach the ferry, but encountered a big problem; at his age, Mountfield wasn’t a customer the rental services were willing to loan a vehicle to. It took the officers driving to visit the rental offices in person, explaining the predicament Mountfield was in — and why it was so important that he make his ferry — for one of the services to allow the rental to go through.
With their perseverance, though, Anderson and Lofthouse got Mountfield back on the roads, and he managed to make it to his ferry in time to head off for his very special reunion.
The officers were so dedicated to getting Mountfield to his destination as a way of showing him how much they appreciated the sacrifices he had made during his life, so hauling themselves all the way to the rental office was hardly something they thought twice about.
From there, his story took a bit of a bittersweet turn.
Although Mountfield managed to arrive at the reunion in Holland and spend his last days surrounded by his oldest friends, the veteran passed away while on his reunion trip. Thanks to the officers that worked so diligently to get him back on the road, though, he was able to pass peacefully in the company of those that mattered to him the most.