An initial scare has turned into Christmas cheer for one Oklahoma City family, thanks to the giving spirit of the local police department.
Officers have chipped in to help the family celebrate the holiday with a generous offering of donations spurred by a 911 call.
When single mother Sophia Reed realized a few weeks before Christmas that her 13-year-old son Diauris was missing, she phoned police in a panic, according to KFOR.
What she didn't expect was that her son was not missing -- he was out collecting cans in the neighborhood so he and his siblings could buy their mother a Christmas present.
When the boy saw police cars at his house, he returned and told officers of his plan.
"I just wanted to do something for my mama," Diauris said.
The family had recently moved into a new apartment, and expenses related to the move had reportedly exhausted family funds.
"What little Christmas money we had [went] to pay my security deposit," Sophia said.
Diauris' sister, Deneisha, suggested collecting cans would be a good way to make some money to buy their mother a Christmas present. So Diauris went off with an empty bag in search of cans.
"I was afraid he was going to get in trouble [after police were called]," said Deneisha. "I just didn't want to say anything because it would blow the whole thing."
Initially thinking he was investigating a runaway, Officer Roland Russell noticed a boy sitting at the bottom of the stairs to the apartment as the scene was being investigated, according to KWTV.
"It was probably 30 degrees outside," said Russell. "He had a little T-shirt on."
Sitting down to talk to the boy, he gently extracted the truth: The boy had snuck out of the house in an attempt to give his mom a Christmas gift.
Russell was touched by the family's story and he invited other officers to meet them.
"There [were] so many knocks on my door, everybody just was knocking," said Sophia. "And every time I opened my door, it was the police, the police."
Along with the visits, officers mobilized their efforts to raise $800, which was used to buy the family Christmas and housewarming gifts.
"Most of the time when I see police, it's bad stuff," said Diauris. "Up here, I guess it's changed."
The family is looking to pay the officers' good deed forward in the new year.
"They caught us at the right time, and we are so grateful," said Sophia.