GLENDALE, Ariz. — An act of generosity and sacrifice from a Peoria, Arizona, 8-year-old led some Glendale police officers to pay it forward to the boy with a belated birthday party.
Jaden Simmonds is like most kids his age. Spiderman is his favorite superhero, he loves to collect sloths and he's excited to play his Sonic the Hedgehog video game.
What sets Jaden apart from other kids his age is what he decided to do for his birthday.
Over the summer, Jaden told his mother instead of having a big birthday party, he'd rather his friends and family bring him gifts for kids who don't have as much.
So for over a year, Jaden collected enough toys to fill a big red bin. Last month, he wheeled that bin into a local mall, which caused the jaws of Glendale police officers Jeff Alloway and Commander Ryan Horrall to drop.
"We just try to teach our kids to be selfless and think of others," said Krysta Simmonds, Jaden's mother.
Alloway estimates Jaden's gift helped provide additional gifts to about 40 families this Christmas.
"Shocking, to see a child so young, to have such a heart, such a big heart to donate and give up," Alloway said.
Motivated by Jaden's generosity, a few Glendale police officers sought to pay it forward and throw a belated birthday party at Urban Air in Peoria on Friday.
"The gesture that he did, we didn't want it to go unnoticed," Alloway said.
Jaden spoke to local media Friday and told a room of cameras on tripods taller than him that he likes to help others, and it makes him feel good when he does. Like most kids his age, Jaden admitted he was anxious to stop answering media questions and jump on the trampoline.
With approval from his mother about which games were age-appropriate and some police sleuthing to locate the console, Glendale police also gifted Jaden a Nintendo Switch.
His face lit up when he unwrapped the hard-to-find gift.
"The fact that he thought of others than himself was a very proud moment," Jaden's mom said.
This story was originally published by Jordan Bontke on Scripps station KNXV in Phoenix.