It was just an ordinary day on the job for VTA bus driver Tim Watson, that was until his keen eye turned him into a bonafide hero. Earlier that day, a 3-year-old boy had been abducted from his mother at the Milpitas Public Library in California. The library was closed by the authorities and a search began, during which time all local VTA bus drivers were asked to stay alert.
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Watson got the memo. Shortly thereafter, the eagle-eyed bus driver noticed an odd-looking duo sitting on the bus benches; a man and a tearful young boy, somewhat closely matching the missing child’s description. But Watson wasn’t sure, so he immediately devised a cunning plan. Watson told his passengers that a previous passenger had lost their backpack, and he would have to pull over to carry out a search. “What I’m really trying to do,” Watson told KGO,” is to get up without him knowing, to look at the little boy.”
Sure enough, the kid’s plaid shorts and bright red Crocs gave him away.
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His suspicions confirmed, Watson’s heart raced as he realized what he had to do next. Stepping off the bus momentarily, he quietly contacted the local police to alert them that the kidnapper and missing boy might just be riding his vehicle. According to the Daily Mail, he was told to “drive the vehicle as he normally would.” Next stop, Fremont BART station; the police would be waiting.
“I open my door one slowly,” Watson said, explaining what happened when his bus pulled into the station, “giving them time to get prepped and ready to go.” Watson then opened up the second bus door, and 23-year-old Alfonso David Edington, of Pittsburg, walked “calm, cool, collected as can be” off the vehicle with the abducted child. However, he didn’t get far. He was immediately apprehended and an officer “pried the child away.” Edington was taken into custody.
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The ensuing scene at Milpitas police headquarters would have touched even the most reserved of onlookers, as the little boy was finally reunited with his parents. Overwhelming distress turned to relief, and then gratitude. Watson, himself a father of two, said that it hit him hard: “My own kids came to mind,” he shared, “and I just broke down […] I just had to go inside the bus and reflect.”
Edington’s intentions remain a mystery, as the man had no familial connection to the little boy. Comments from social media indicate that relief spread like wildfire after the 3-year-old was found safe. “God put that bus driver in the right place at the right time,” shared one reader. “He’s indeed a big time hero,” commented another. “He might have saved this child’s life.”
Less than an hour after a 3-year-old boy disappeared from a library in Santa Clara County, public transit bus driver Tim…
“The bus driver is a hero, an absolute hero,” Robert Vega, communications supervisor with the Milpitas Police, agreed. And Watson’s boss, Nuria Fernandez, told ABC News that the team was “proud” of Watson’s involvement. “Watson was an integral part of that team effort,” Fernandez said, “putting to perfect use the tools he was given in operator training combined with his innate composure and astuteness.” That team made sure that this story had a very happy ending indeed.
Standing ovation for Tim Watson. Hero VTA bus driver helped rescue 3 yr old boy kidnapped from Milpitas library. pic.twitter.com/5yaSwcjArW
— Matt Keller (@MattKellerABC7) June 19, 2015
Watson received a standing ovation but remained modest. “I feel I did what any father would do,” he said, the words of a truly humble hero.
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