The 10th-grader had a big debate at school in the morning, but spaced out the night before.
He forgot to ask his father to leave a tied necktie for him in the morning.
Luke Cuevas, 15, who like most teenagers (and most adults) isn’t well versed in the fine art of tying a tie, was in a fix.
The Anaheim resident went on YouTube to watch videos on how to do it, but was running late to school.
“Don’t worry about it,” his mom, Melissa, told him. “We’ll find somebody to help.”
They zipped over to Calvary Baptist Church, which once a week hosts the Anaheim Coves Campus of Classical Conversations, a home school Luke attends.
Melissa Cuevas is Orange County Area Representative for Classic Conversations, a K-to-12th grade program active in 11 O.C. communities.
Mom’s optimism was nice, but a couple of women at the school who were asked to help Luke tie his tie tried, but failed.
Debate time was approaching.
As fate would have it, one of the most qualified persons you’d want to run into in such a situation happened to pull up to the church at around 8:15 a.m. on Sept. 20 to familiarize himself with it and Classical Conversations.
Rookie APD Officer Jeremy Prince, who was sworn in April 20, was about 2 ½ hours into his shift during his last week as a trainee, working patrol with his Field Training Officer, Juan Frias.
Prince spent eight years in the Marine Corps as an infantryman before becoming a police officer.
“Eight years in the Marine Corps, you tie a lot of ties,” Prince says.
Not only that, but Prince grew up in the small town of Cuba, Missouri (population 3,500) and wore a blue suit to church every Sunday. His grandfather was a Pentecostal preacher who helped raise him and taught Jeremy how to tie a tie when he was 9 years old.
So, yes, you could say Prince definitely knows his stuff when it comes to tying neckties.
One of the women walked up to Prince.
“Would you happen to know how to tie a tie?”
Surprised at the request, Prince told her yes.
Out came Luke, and Prince went to work.
Luke’s mother came out and was relieved and delighted to see what was happening.
Prince teased Luke, asking if he was wearing a tie because he had a date.
“He turned bright red,” Prince says.
Knowing Luke felt a little uncomfortable and shy as his classmates walked past him in the courtyard, Prince kept things low key as he tied a half-Windsor knot.
He did it in one try. The tie was the perfect length – no surprise there.
Unknown to Prince, Frias was recording the moment on his mobile phone.
Oh, this is going to be a fun video to watch in briefing.
Later that day, Frias showed Anaheim PD PIO Sgt. Daron Wyatt the video.
“This is awesome,” Wyatt told Frias.
Wyatt ran into Prince in a hallway and told him: “There you are. You’re going to be a superstar.”
Prince had no clue what he was talking about, since Frias had not told him he had recorded the act of kindness.
“I was dumbfounded,” Prince says.
After Wyatt and his partners on the APD’s social media team posted the video on Facebook, Prince soon realized the ramifications of his act of kindness:
Publicity. And lots of reader reaction to the posting.
On Sept. 26, FOX 10 Phoenix picked up the story, interviewing Prince over the phone.
Prince, who like other APD officers wears a clip-on tie on the job for safety reasons, received congratulatory emails from many people, including APD Chief Jorge Cisneros and Deputy Chief Julian Harvey.
Prince and Frias are pleased the video showed a part of policing that mostly goes unnoticed.
“Most of the public doesn’t see the positive,” said Frias, a 14-year veteran of the APD.
Prince, who is married with two children, ages 3 and 6, says one of the reasons he got into law enforcement was to help others. And he has a soft spot for helping children and teens.
These days, Prince usually only wears ties when he has to go to court. And when he does, he goes all out, also donning a vest as well as a handkerchief in the breast pocket of his blazer.
Prince enlisted in the military when he was 20 and went on several deployments.
A week after his active service ended on July 14, 2017, the APD hired him.
Prince is a little chagrined at all the attention the tie incident has generated – especially since he’s brand new to the APD.
Asked what his career goals are, he kept things simple:
“I just want to be a good officer,” he said.