LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A little boy who’s been in and out of the hospital since birth only wanted to do one thing this holiday season: to make others smile.
“Last summer, I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, and he said he wanted to make people smile,” James Assimon’s mother, Cheryl Assimon, said.
That’s when James’ Project Smile was born, and he would pass out magnets at stores to make people smile. But after watching a television news report of violence towards police, James and his mother made special magnets with angels on them so each officer could have a guardian angel.
“When they see it, they can be reminded that somebody in the world wants to make them smile,” Cheryl said. “It’s not a very nice place sometimes. And sometimes people aren’t nice to each other. But we need to make it a point to be nice.”
That’s how the 6-year-old got a special visit and tour of the Colonie Police Department complete with a ride in a police cruiser with lights and sirens blaring.
“It made our Christmas,” Lt. James Jerace said. “We know people are supportive of the police, but sometimes we don’t hear it.”
In return, James was invited to spend the day with the people he wanted to protect. He checked out the department’s robot and played Frisbee. So much energy came from a boy who had brain surgery two years ago.
And his mission to help make people smile? He certainly didn’t fail. He even befriended a NEWS10 ABC photographer.
He had everyone feeling like a kid again. And when asked what he wants to be when he grows up he said he wants to “be a police officer.”
In the meantime, his magnets offer protection and a smile to remind Colonie officers they have a friend in James.