Gabe Rongier is an 11-year-old who lives in Pennsylvania. He has a friend who lives in Texas whom he met through the social media platform known as Snapchat.
And he saved that friend’s life when he couldn’t shake the feeling that she was in danger of herself after she had confided in him.
According to ABC News, Rongier and the girl first became acquainted when she joined a Snapchat group with the 11-year-old and some of his friends.
Rongier and the girl have never met in person. However, the 11-year-old began to feel like something was wrong with his online friend and told his parents about it.
Rongier told his parents that the girl had started sending him “distressing messages” via Snapchat and that he was “scared” and “worried” about her wellbeing:
“I felt that this girl needed help and she was in distress and she needed somebody to talk to and get through with.”
Rongier’s mom, Lori, said she was skeptical her son’s friend was “real” at first and she, along with her husband, adviced their son not to call 911 for help.
However, as ABC News reports, the 11-year-old couldn’t shake the feeling that something was seriously wrong with this friend and decided not to listen to his parents’ advice.
In an attempt to get his friend help, Rongier called the suicide hotline. The hotline then put the boy in touch with local law enforcement in Grand Saline, Texas.
Lori told ABC News that by the time she learned what her son was doing, he was already on the phone with the Grand Saline Police Department.
In the end, Rongier’s friend got the help she needed before hurting herself.
The department that was able to track down the girl thanks to Rongier’s help and later sent the boy a letter, thanking him for doing the right thing.
The letter said:
This is K9 Officer McKenzie Chandler with the Grand Saline Police Department here in Texas. I just want to take the time to tell you how much I appreciate what you did for your friend here in Texas. It takes a big man to do what you did, your parents as well as I are very proud of you! I am sending you a gift, it’s called a challenge coin. I could not have done my job if it wasn’t for you help sir, and I want you to know that I thank you very much, and I want you to have this coin.
I want to wish you the best of luck with the rest of the school year, keep up the good work young man!
P.S. Canine Figo says hello.
Lori now admits she is glad her son followed his gut feelings:
“Most parents want their kids to listen to them, we’re grateful he didn’t listen and trusted his instincts.”
She added that she hopes other parents learn not to jump to conclusions if their child ever finds themselves in a similar situation:
“Don’t necessarily jump to conclusions, especially if your child feels strongly that it is not a hoax.”