Stephanie Ketcher never expected her son’s letter to get a response.
But she underestimated the Rhode Island State Police.Screenshot/WPRI
As WPRI News reports, the Ketchers were visiting family in Rhode Island when four-year-old Will lost his favorite stuffed animal out the car window. Stephanie told WPRI:
“That instantaneous reaction of … ‘I told you not to do that, I knew he was going to fly out the window.’ That quickly went away when I looked in the rear-view mirror and saw his sweet, sad face crumple up.”
Will was devastated to lose his beloved stuffed cheetah, Roger. In the effort to help his son cope, Will’s father hit on an idea inspired by an old Charlie Brown comic where Linus asks for help locating his lost blanket. He suggested Will write a letter asking the Rhode Island police to help find Roger.
So Will penned his request for help, which began, “Dear Rhode Island State Highway Patrol. I lost my Roger, and I really want him back. Can you please find him? I love him.”
Appropriately, Will included a drawing of his missing cheetah, a description, and his last known whereabouts:
Roger is a cheetah. He fell out of the car window on Interstate 95 around West Greenwich. He is about 12 inches long.
Fortunately for Will, his letter was opened by Corporal Lawens Fevrier, a father of two who knows exactly how important a stuffed cheetah can be. As Fevrier told WPRI:
“I know how important it is for them to sleep with their blankets or stuffed animal. We were all 4 years old at one time in our lives.”
Fevrier joked with WPRI about sending out a search and rescue to Roger’s last known location, but “it was raining and we just couldn’t find the one that he lost.”
Stephanie says her son’s letter “was never designed to be effective.” So she was stunned when — several months after Will wrote for help — a box from Rhode Island arrived at their home in Brooklyn.
Inside the box was a new stuffed cheetah for Will, along with a note from the Rhode Island police explaining that this was no ordinary cat:
On behalf of the Rhode Island State Police, we are so sorry that Roger was lost. We spent days looking for him on the highway. We couldn’t find him. We did find another cheetah walking around the highway. We stopped to talk to him. He said that he was looking for a new home in the Big Apple and we thought of you. Before we sent him to you we had to make him a Cheetah Trooper. The first cheetah trooper in the history of the Rhode Island State Police.
A delighted and grateful Will named his new friend “Rhody,” in honor of the Rhode Island police. His overwhelmed mom said that the story has moved many people to tears. She told WPRI:
“There’s so much negative stuff going on in the world, we’re inundated with it … it’s so refreshing to have something like this happen that just reminds you that there are really good people out there.”
Fevrier told WPRI that there’s no mystery behind why they went through so much to help a young boy in another state. It was all in a day’s work: “We take every case serious, whether it’s a crime scene or a letter from Will. We just wanted to … make him happy.”