A 19-year-old Zaid Garcia, who was horrifically burned on 80% of his body as a child, saw his long-cherished dream of becoming a police officer turn into reality.
Since the age of 10, Garcia had nurtured the ambition of becoming a police officer. However, the odds seemed stacked against him, and he doubted if he could ever achieve his goal.
Growing up in Mexico, he experienced a life-altering incident that left him with severe burns covering over 80% of his body.
The terrible accident, caused by a falling candle that set the house on fire, not only blinded him and put him in a coma, but also resulted in the loss of both his hands.
Despite enduring countless surgeries and numerous challenges, Garcia’s resilience and determination powered him forward.
How burn victim Zaid Garcia became an honorary officer
“It’s been a hard path, but I healed, he told KPRC News. “I want to inspire people.”
The Galveston resident’s story reached Isaiah Garza, a social media influencer based in Los Angeles.
Touched by Garcia’s desire to serve as a police officer, Garza tracked him down and set out to make his dream a reality.
“His mental willpower is beautiful and it doesn’t stop him from wanting to be who he wants to be,” Garza commented. “Everything he’s been through, he still stands tall, and he just is such a brave human being and so much courage.”
Working together with the Houston Police Department (HPD), Garza orchestrated an unforgettable experience for Garcia at HPD’s Academy in North Houston.
During his visit, Garcia was given a junior police officer uniform and engaged in a series of activities that helped him gain firsthand experience of the life of a police officer.
From learning the intricacies of making a traffic stop on the driver’s track to participating in simulated scenarios such as clearing a room and apprehending a suspect, Garcia immersed himself in the duties of law enforcement.
He also hung out with a K9 officer and visiting the shooting range during his visit to the academy, then was made an honorary member by chief Troy Finner.
Officer Garcia is a burn victim who inspires others
At one point, Garcia spoke to a roomful of police cadets, sharing his is goal of joining the force. “I ended up proving the doctors wrong, too,” he told them. “They thought I could not make it, but here I am.”
His words left a lasting impact, with a prosecutor teaching the cadet class. “You make our jobs worthwhile and rewarding,” he remarked, “I’ll remember your testimony about wanting to be part of law enforcement for the rest of my life.”
“In some way, you can achieve your dream,” Garcia told the outlet. “I may be different, but it doesn’t mean that it stops me.”