A 12-year-old boy from Fox Chapel, Pennsylvania is being hailed a hero after he helped prevent a young East Texas girl from committing suicide.
It was all thanks to the Gabe Rongier’s quick reaction after he saw a disturbing Snapchat post pop up on his feed.
Gabe told CBS Pittsburgh (KDKA) that the girl said in the post that she “wouldn’t be here tomorrow”, and instantly alarm bells went off in his head. Although he didn’t actually know the girl personally and they had only one mutual connection, Gabe felt that he had to do something.
His concern led him to pick up the phone, and police say it’s very lucky that he did.
It is very likely that Gabe’s decision to contact authorities saved a life that day.
“I called the suicidal prevention services and it linked me to Officer Chandler (in Texas.)” Rongier told KDKA.
In a situation like this one, time is of the essence and every second counts.
Police knew they had to track down the girl as soon as possible so that they could check in on her and make sure she was okay. After a little investigation, they were able to locate the girl’s address by using geotracking, and Officer Chandler immediately rushed over to the house.
“He went to her house, checked up on her,” Gabe said. “The next day he called me and said, ‘she’s fine. It’s real.’”
Thankfully, police arrived in time to intervene and prevent the suicide, but if Gabe had never called suicide prevention services, who knows what would have happened.
After being interviewed by KDKA about the incident, Gabe’s story instantly started getting a lot of attention online.
Many people are now referring to him simply as the “Snapchat Hero”.
Gabe’s father, Fred Rongier, said the whole thing caught him completely by surprise.
“I was almost shocked to see it was a true story,” said Fred Rongier. “I didn’t believe it at first, but I had to believe it. It’s really true.”
Gabe’s mother, Lori Rongier, added that her hope is that the story will help give other kids the courage to call suicide prevention services in the future.
“Of course, I’m very proud of him, but I really hope that other young people his age might see the story and also be inspired to also take action to help somebody in need just like Gabe did,” said Lori Rongier.
Gabe has dreams of one day becoming a member of the SWAT team, so when he received a package in the mail from the police department the next week, he was absolutely thrilled.
They gave him an honorary police patch, a law enforcement “Challenge Coin”, and a personal letter from Officer Chandler thanking him for what he did.
“When he went to bed, I always kiss him and, I’ve been telling him since that day, ‘you’re my little hero,’” Fred Rongier said.
Gabe is very pleased with how things turned out too.
“I feel relieved that she’s OK,” said Gabe. “I feel like I did something good.”
What an amazing young man!
Check out the full video of the story from CBS Pittsburgh below.
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