Jared Flanders, 11, rode his bike to a firefighter's wake to show his respects, even though he wasn't supposed to leave his house by himself.
Jared, who lives in Worcester, Mass., ultimately decided to defy his father's orders and go to firefighter Jon Davies' wake. He carefully put on a coat and tie, hopped on his bike and went down to the funeral home, about a mile away, reported NBC affiliate WHDH.com.
Jared didn't know the fireman, but he knows the pain of losing someone: His older half-brother fought in Iraq and died this summer, said Jared's dad, Gene Flanders, on his Facebook page.
"After what happened to my brother, I just -- I would feel bad for the other families and wanted to come support them," Jared told WHDH.com.
The firefighter, a 17-year veteran, died on Dec. 8 while battling a fire inside a triple-decker. He had been trying to rescue someone he thought was still trapped inside, local reports said. Firefighters and mourners across the area gathered at the funeral home to pay respects Wednesday evening, but pint-sized Jared stood out.
"He understood what the pain of the family was, and he wanted to come here and support the Worcester Fire Department and the family of Jon Davies, which to us says everything about the community of Worcester and its people," Chief Frank Diliddo of the Worcester Police Department told WHDH.com.
Jared said he wanted to express his gratitude.
Jared Flanders, 11, with a firefighter at Jon Davies' wake on Wednesday.
"I wanted to say thanks for saving all those people. Thanks for trying so hard. We’ll all miss you," he told The Boston Herald. "I felt very bad for him — he was going to get married. The poor guy. I kept thinking how good he was and how hard he worked. What I was thinking about while watching everybody go up and pray was how brave he was and how such a hard worker he was."
Jared himself could wind up being a firefighter one day, he told The Herald.
"I want to be a soccer player and if I don’t make that, I want to be a graphic designer or then a firefighter."
As for his tie, Jared said he learned how to tie it from a book called, "How to Be the Best at Everything," from which he also "read how to fly a helicopter and how to make a flute out of bamboo."
The funeral for Davies was being held on Thursday. City officials told WBZ Wednesday they expected up to 12,000 mourners from Worcester and beyond to attend.
An 11-year-old boy defied his dad's orders to attend the wake of a firefighter who lost his life while looking for victims inside a burning building. WHDH-TV reports.
Firefighters said it meant so much to them that Jared came to the wake that they invited him to ride on Davies' truck during the funeral procession Thursday, reported WBZ-TV.
Jared was given a police escort home Wednesday night from the wake, NECN.com said.
Gene Flanders, Jared's dad, admitted to The Herald that he can't punish Jared for breaking house rules in this situation.
"At first I was very startled. I am not quite sure how to deal with the situation. ... I was a little surprised when I called his phone and a police officer answered it, and he happened to say how Jared rode his bike to the funeral home. We were talking about how even though what he had done was very nice, we’re trying to go back over the rules that he wasn’t supposed to leave the house," Flanders said. "He has such a big heart."
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