Five-year-old TyLon Pittman was watching YouTube videos of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” in his home in Mississippi when he suddenly became afraid.
He reached for the house phone and called 911 to report an urgent tip.
“I just want to tell you something. Watch for that little Grinch. Because the Grinch is gonna steal Christmas, okay?” TyLon said on the 911 call, which was posted on the Clarion-Ledger website.
The 911 dispatcher asked the child if he was home alone. His father quickly came to the phone and apologized for his son’s call to the police in Byram, Miss.
“No, no it’s fine,” the 911 dispatcher said with a laugh. “He called in saying the Grinch was trying to steal his Christmas.”
TyLon’s brother and mother were out shopping when it happened, and learned about it two hours later when there was a knock on the door about 9 p.m. Saturday.
TyLon’s brother, TeDera Graves, a senior airman in the Air Force, answered the door and saw a police officer standing there.
“I cracked the door and saw the uniform and she explained to me, ‘I’m looking for a little boy who was watching the Grinch?’ ” said Graves, 25. “We called him out and he explained to her what happened.”
The officer told Graves that normally police don’t respond to these kinds of calls. Graves grabbed his phone and started recording as the officer told TyLon that she’d protect him from the Grinch.
“She said she thought it was the cutest thing,” Graves said. “She wanted to pay him a visit to let him know his Christmas will be safe.”
Then the police department took it a step further.
They invited TyLon and his family to tour the police station on Monday. When the 5-year-old arrived, they surprised him with a real-life Grinch (really someone dressed in a Grinch costume) who was in a police car. They told TyLon to lock him up.
TyLon took the Grinch by his hand and put him in a holding cell and locked the door. The boy then reluctantly let him out, and the Grinch commended TyLon on his bravery.
Graves said that even before this happened, TyLon wanted to be a police officer, and that he does even more so now. Graves described his brother as an outgoing kindergartner who regularly makes his family laugh.
Graves said his family has enjoyed the attention the 911 call has brought, and thinks the whole episode is pretty amusing.
“We thought it was funny, we were shocked he actually did it,” Graves said. “But we had a talk with him about when it’s OK to call 911.”
Staff researcher Magda Jean-Louis contributed to this report.