Chester’s most famous accidental tourist is back in town, as Little A and Big A are back together and on the hunt. This time, they’re searching for turkey, four months after warming America’s frozen heart when one small-town cop helped a little boy 600 miles away.
“And this time we plan on getting us a turkey,” said Alex “Big A” Underwood, the Chester County sheriff who made sure that Alex “Little A” Collins came back this week.
“Yes!” shouted a tired Little A Thursday afternoon through the phone after a long day of trying for a turkey – but not getting one yet.
The two new best friends became a sensation in the U.S. – and even overseas in England and Australia – when Underwood righted a mistake made by Little A and his mother in December. Alex and his mom thought a hunting and fishing program at the Chester sheriff’s office was near their home in Chester County, Pa., so they signed up at the last minute. Alex wrote that his mom was a single parent, and he had nobody to take him hunting and fishing.
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But the program was in South Carolina. Chester, Pa., Sheriff Carolyn “Bunny” Welsh, a friend of Underwood, found out about the mistake, and the two sheriffs arranged for Alex to fly to South Carolina for three days of hunting in December that fixed the mix-up. Underwood bought Alex hunting gear and had Little A stay over at his house. He also showed the young kid unconditional love.
The duo has even been on national TV. Outdoorsmen as far away as California have offered trips after The Herald’s coverage of the mistake, the trip, and how Little A and Big A became fast friends.
This time, Alex’s mother drove him down to see his biggest buddy in the South.
“We just loved bringing him down and now he is going to have a great time with the sheriff and all his deputies,” Leslie Collins said. “He was so excited to get there.”
Little A initially stayed with Chief Deputy Robert Sprouse and his wife, Kathy, and went turkey hunting after more safety instruction.
“We heard a gobble but didn’t get one – but we are not giving up,” Sprouse said.
Little A is staying through Saturday. Then it is back to school next week after spring break. But first – a turkey, and a big fish.
“Little A is an awesome kid and we love having him back,” Underwood said. “You make a friend in this world, you hold onto him.”
Andrew Dys • 803-329-4065 • firstname.lastname@example.org