the voice on the phone asked.» «Only my grandparents live here,» Michael Zinn responded, «and they’re asleep.»
A pause; then the man on the phone spoke again. «This is the sheriff’s office. We’re on the trail of a criminal and need your help. «Michael’s eyebrows rose. «What do you want me to do?»
«A store was robbed in Sacramento yesterday. We think the robber is staying at the house across the road from yours. We don’t want to attract attention, so we need someone to watch the house and let us know what’s going on—lights on or off, cars coming or going, that sort of stuff. Will you help us?»
Michael nodded. «Sure. I’ll be your lookout.»
The sheriff called for updates that the boy provided, giving details of everything he saw from his front window. It continued until two o’clock the next morning when a car drove up to the house across the street and a man entered. When the sheriff heard the news, he immediately dispatched squad cars to the scene. Then he created a command post in Michael’s living room and, when all was ready, ordered his men to move in. They arrested the criminal as he tried to escape.
The next day Michael found himself featured on the front page of the town newspaper. He received a star from the sheriff’s office and was named Special Junior Deputy Sheriff.
Michael’s classmates at the Chino Seventh-day Adventist School grinned broadly all the next week. A criminal had been caught, and they now had a genuine hero attending their school.