Boy in hospital for weeks gets surprise visit from SWAT team

July 30, 2021
Simms Daniels waves to police in front of MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children's Hospital
Simms Daniels, in a stroller, waves as police officers roll by him at the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children's Hospital. Photos by Sarah Pack

Simms Daniels, age 4, enjoys the simple pleasures. A frosted doughnut. Bubbles. The company of his brother, Wilson.

But on this day, the boy from Hartsville, South Carolina, was about to get a very special treat.

Simms was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which means the structures on the left side of his heart didn’t fully develop. He’s had three operations, and he’s been in the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital for about three weeks after a setback.

But Simms has a lot of support – not only from family and friends but strangers who heard about his situation on social media and TV news. They’ve sent cards and small gifts like crayons and coloring books.

Sgt. Sean Engles shows Simms Daniels the card police signed for him. 
Sgt. Sean Engles shows Simms the card police made for him. Simms' mother, Lacey Daniels, is on the far right and his brother is beside him.

And as he was about to find out, he has new friends in uniform.

As he sat outside the hospital entrance with his family, his nurse and a physician assistant, the sound of sirens surprised Simms. Then, as the sirens fell silent, a line of police vehicles slowly rolled past him. It was the Charleston Police Department’s SWAT and bomb teams.

“One, two, three, four,” Simms counted. The cars and trucks, nine in all, stopped, and the officers got out. Sgt. Sean Engles walked toward Simms with a giant blue handmade card. “We just wanted to wish you the best. You see all these tough guys here? We wish we were as tough as you. That’s for sure,” the policeman said.

“All your friends in the Charleston Police Department SWAT team and bomb team signed this for you. We got a little gift bag. The chief of police has a surprise for you in there as well. And we hope you come visit us. You can get a special tour of the department and training area.”

Large blue card signed by police officers for Simms Daniels 
"Stay strong buddy, you are inspiration," wrote one officer on Simms' card.

“You want to go to the police department? That would be cool,” Simms mom told him.

“Stay strong young man,” Engles said.

It was a bright moment in a difficult period for Simms and his family, and a reminder of just how generous people can be. “I think he’s overwhelmed. He gets excited when the mail is delivered every day. He counts how many cards he gets every day,” said his mother, Lacey Daniels.

Nurse Leslie Giauque was grateful to the police for making Simms’ morning. “We try to keep the magic alive. We do the holidays, all the fun things. We try to get sunshine every day, we try to play games every day. We go to the playroom and just try to keep them young.”

As the police drove off, Simms waved and kicked his bare feet. It was a warm summer morning, and the little boy was happy.

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About the Author

Helen Adams

Keywords: Pediatrics