Tim Watson was driving his regular route when a man and child boarded his bus, and he knew right away something was wrong.
“I saw he was teary eyed,” Watson said of the boy.
In fact, the police had just sent out an alert that morning about a suspect they were pursing. Watson didn’t know the details yet: A little boy had been snatched away from his mother at the local library just that day, and the police were looking for the boy and his kidnapper.
All he knew was to be on the lookout for a man with a 3-year-old boy wearing a blue shirt, plaid shorts, and red Crocs. Watson hadn’t gotten a close look yet, but he was pretty sure the pair that had just boarded his bus fit the description.
Now all Watson had to do was to find a way to verify it was them and get the bus to the police without alerting the man and letting him get away.
Watson decided to hatch a plan. He pulled over so he could contact the police, but told the passengers he needed to look for a missing bag that had been left on the bus.
Then he got up to walk down the bus, asking passengers about a missing green backpack, pretending to be looking for it between and under the seats.
What he was really trying to get a look at was the man and the boy—and he saw that the boy indeed was wearing the same outfit the police described.
“That was good enough for me,” Watson said.
With no backpack in sight, he started driving again. But when he got to the train station destination—the kidnapper was caught unawares when a group of police stopped and arrested him on the spot.
Twenty-three-year-old Alfonso Edington carried the child off the bus, and, after a brief struggle officers “pried the child” out of his arms and took him into custody.
Watson was hailed a hero by police and the boy’s mother.
At first, Watson was not even aware of the gravity of what happened. The police explained it was an abduction and Edington was a total stranger to the child he had grabbed and ran away with. Watson had prevented a kidnapping.
“I became very emotional,” said Watson, who has two children himself. “This could have been my child that was abducted.”
In the aftermath, the events of that day were surreal, he told ABC. He’s just grateful he read that police alert in time.
“I feel I did what any father would do,” Watson said.