by ROWENA OREJANA
The New Zealand Police have recognised the heroic efforts of St Peter’s College student Eamon McArdle for helping a younger St Peter’s boy recover his iPad from a thief.
Fifteen-year-old Eamon was on the platform of the Mt Albert train station on June 24 last year when he heard the cry of the younger boy for people to stop the burly thief who had taken his iPad.
“It was a choice really. I could have kept going. It was my birthday the next day. Somebody else might stop him. But I just chose to go after him. I don’t know why. I just
did,” he said.
After asking another student to look after the boy, Eamon chased the thief, making sure he kept a safe distance behind. All the while, he urged the thief to return the device to its owner.
At one point, the thief became threatening. “He said, ‘If you don’t stop following me, I’m going to drop you off ’. It was tough talk,” Eamon said.
However, when they were getting to the end of the street, Eamon realised it could be dangerous and asked a passerby for help. By this time, the victim’s mother had called the
police and was driving around searching for the culprit.
“I talked to the mum and the guy just ran off . I ran after him. He realised he’s been caught and he handed me the iPad,” Eamon said.
Eamon’s calmness and bravery impressed Avondale constable John Belt so much he recommended the young man for recognition by NZ Police.
The award was given to Eamon at the school’s assembly.
“[The award] surprised me. All I did was help. It’s something that we should all do. It’s not something that needs to be honoured. But, apparently, it is,” he said. “There were a thousand thoughts going on inside my head but it must have been just a millisecond or something. I heard the kid. The sound in his voice is like panic. I can imagine what that felt like. I just had to do something,” he said.
St Peter’s deputy headmaster Stephen Dooley said they are proud of Eamon’s actions, with his courage and being smart. “He is an unassuming and humble young man who can’t see what all the fuss is about!” he said.
His mother, Diane McArdle, said their family is very proud. “The thing I was most proud of as a mother was the fact that he made sure that the young boy had someone to stay with him.
With all of the things that had happened, he still made sure of that,” she said.
She said Eamon has been brought up in a Catholic family and went to Catholic schools. All his life, doing the right thing has been impressed on him.
“That’s what God calls us to do, the right thing, if you know what I mean. Looking after your neighbour. Being there for other people.”
Eamon believes he was guided by God. “Looking back, there was that one decision when I thought I should just go on but something stopped me and told me to go after him. It
could have been God. I think it was God.
“But going through that experience, it’s impossible to describe. I will never be able to forget that one second ofchoice,” he said.