‘You make our jobs worthwhile’: Burn survivor inspires LEOs while serving as an officer for a day

The teen, who suffered burns to 80% of his body during a fire, got to experience being an officer while inspiring Houston PD members along the way

By Ashley Silver

GALVESTON COUNTY, Texas — For 19-year-old Zaid Garcia, becoming a police officer has been a lifelong dream since he was 10 years old, but he always felt his dream might be out of reach.

“I told her, ‘Mom, I think I can do it,’” Garcia told KPRC News. “To be honest, I didn’t even believe it myself.”

His doubts stemmed from a life-changing accident when he was a young child living in Mexico.

Garcia suffered severe burns to more than 80% of his body, blinding him, and causing him to lose both hands, according to KPRC News. The serious injuries put him in a coma and resulted in many surgeries over the years.

“No one knows how but a candle fell, and when the candle fell, the house caught on fire,” he told KPRC.

When Los Angeles social media influencer Isaiah Garza heard about Garcia’s story and aspirations of becoming an officer, he tracked him down to make his dream become a reality.

“His mental willpower is beautiful and it doesn’t stop him from wanting to be who he wants to be,” Garcia told the news platform. “Everything he’s been through, he still stands tall, and he just is such a brave human being and so much courage.”

Garza contacted the Houston Police Department, and the teen spent a day at HPD’s Academy in North Houston doing everything an officer would: learning to make a traffic stop on the driver’s track, helping clear a room and take down a suspect, meeting a K-9 officer, and visiting the shooting range.

Garcia spoke to a group of cadets at the academy that day, telling them, “I ended up proving the doctors wrong, too, you know. They thought I could not make it, but here I am.”

A prosecutor who was teaching the class of cadets was touched by the teen’s story of perseverance and strength.

 “You make our jobs worthwhile and rewarding and I’ll remember your testimony about wanting to be part of law enforcement for the rest of my life,” the prosecutor told Garcia during the class.

After receiving a junior police officer uniform and being presented with a certificate by Chief Troy Finner, Garcia proclaimed this day one of the best in his life.

“In some way, you can achieve your dream,” he said. “I may be different, but it doesn’t mean that it stops me.”

Recommended for you

Copyright © 2023 Police1. All rights reserved.