On New Years eve Roger Higgenbottom 48 went to NYC to see the ball drop just as millions of other people do every year but for Roger and his wife Diana it was something extra special. Roger was dying of cancer and this was on his bucket list. They had come from Wisconsin to see it happen live and it would be their last opportunity together to see it.
Roger was having a hard time mustering the strength to get out of bed that day because of the tumor he suffering with let alone fight the crowds. The two of them couldn’t even get close to seeing the ball drop and Diana was distraught. Pacing, crying and praying a small miracle happened, in the form of a N.Y.P.D. Lt. named Jamiel Altaheri that changed everything in a few minutes.
Altaheri who wasn’t even supposed to be in the area but took a break noticed Diana and asked if everything was alright as she was distraught. She explained the situation to Altaheri who escorted the two of them through lines, past barricades and right under the ball. The time was 11:57 P.m..
Altaheri wrote his name and number down on a piece of paper in case they lost him and Diana never forgot his kindness, never did Roger, even on his deathbed.
The NYDailyNews stated that Diana said “I can’t believe his humility. He did it just because it was the right thing,” Altaheri and the Higgenbottoms kept in touch. Altaheri even sent care packages to Wisconsin. “He sent all kinds of things — an NYPD shirt with Roger’s name on it … Who does that? Angels on Earth do that.”
In March Roger passed away leaving Diana with the memory of having seen the ball drop with him and his happiness of having that moment shared thanks to Altaheri. Diana said that one of her husbands favorite memories he had was seeing the ball drop and the kindness that he had been shown by the officer.
Diana had been looking fo a way to thank Altaheri for his simple act of kindness, so she flew to N.Y. for a special occasion of significance to Altaheri this time. It was when he was being promoted from Lieutenant to Captain.
As Altaheri looked out during the promotion ceremony Friday, he again picked Diana of a crowd.
“I was shocked. I looked at her 2 or 3 times. I was like. ‘What, Oh my God!'” he said. Altaheri chalked his act of kindness to God putting him in the right place at the right time, a modesty Diana has come to know well.
“I hope he understands the magnitude of what he did for us. I hope he gets it. He was New York for me. He came through for me. New York came through for me,” she said.
Photo Credit: NYDAILY NEWS