How the Officer Saved Christmas

Cop brings gifts to mom and kids after fire and burglary

Santa Claus is the one who makes Christmas Eve deliveries, not cops.

But after some scrooges took advantage of a holiday tragedy, on Chicago police officer found himself playing the role.

In the pre-dawn hours of Friday morning, a house fire started on South Yale Avenue and spread to Tondonlia Brown's apartment. Fortunately, the 30-year-old mother and her two young children were able to escape safely.

While they were at the hospital, being treated for smoke inhalation, Brown's building superintendent informed her that her damaged apartment had been robbed. Burglars snuck into her home via a broken window (caused by the fire) and stole the family's television, clothes, jewelry, game systems, and even the presents under the Christmas tree.

"I was devastated," Brown, who has been unemployed since she was laid off in January, told the Chicago Tribune. "It was hard enough to go through the fire, but to come back and find all your belongings gone like that was unspeakable."

Office Michael Lawrence, 32, who responded to the burglary call, felt horrible for the kids, ages 6 and 2.

"I couldn't imagine being a kid and going through that," Lawrence said.

The officer -- going above and beyond -- ran to the store and used his own money to buy new Christmas gifts, including hats, T-shirts, toys, and a $200 gift card.

"He did more than what was expected, in my opinion," Brown said to the paper. "You don't hear of too many good cops like that. I appreciate everything he did for us."

Matt Bartosik is a Chicago native and a social media sovereign.

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