A Georgia State Patrol trooper who entertained four newly orphaned children on Halloween night did the right thing, according to Counseling and Human Development Services associate professor Alan Stewart.
"I think what he did was fantastic," said Stewart, who specializes in weather and climate psychology but also spent seven years studying police death notifications. Stewart was quoted in a New York Times story recounting the officer's actions.
Trooper Nathan Bradley was dispatched to a Morgan County home after a husband and wife were killed in a wreck Oct. 31. When he arrived at the home to find four children, ranging in age from 6 to 13, he kept the children busy while their grandmother drive up from South Florida rather than deliver the horrific news.
Because the behavior and language of someone delivering such bad news can have a life-long effect on the mourners, experts advise that it's best that a professional or family member deliver the news. So instead of telling the children what had just happened, Bradley took them out to McDonald's and Burger King for dinner, then took them to the trooper's post, where others brought in candy and movies for the children. They ended up sleeping in spare rooms at the post, waiting for their grandmother to arrive, all the while not knowing where their parents were.
The children's grandmother, who arrived early the next morning, delivered the news.
The story appeared in the Nov. 6 edition of The New York Times.