It was an average day for Valley Transportation Authority bus driver Tim Watson until a little boy wearing red shoes boarded his bus. Watson immediately had a “strange feeling,” but nothing could have prepared him for what came next.
About an hour after a 3-year-old boy was reported missing from a library outside of San Francisco, Tim Watson, a Valley Transportation Authority bus driver, saw a man and boy on his bus who resembled the description of the suspect and child. But, he couldn’t be sure.
At first, Tim didn’t think much of the pair, but moments later, he noticed the boy was crying. It was enough to make the bus driver — a dad with two kids of his own — tap into his paternal instincts. And, it’s a good thing he did. Something was amiss, and Tim was determined to figure out want it was and whether his hunch was right.
Tim concocted a brilliant plan to thwart the suspect’s evil plan of abducting the innocent boy. Instead of questioning or calling attention to him, Tim pulled the bus over and started asking all of the passengers if they’d seen a missing backpack. In reality, he was trying to get to the perpetrator and see if his suspicion was correct. “I started asking passengers about a missing green backpack,” Tim told ABC News. “What I’m trying to do is get to the perpetrator.”
When Tim walked to the back of the bus and noticed the boy was wearing a pair of red Crocs on his feet, as described by authorities, he knew his intuition was spot-on. This was the young boy who had been kidnapped from the local library just an hour earlier. After carrying out the fake search, Tim stepped off the bus and contacted police to say he believed the kidnapped child and his abductor were on his bus.
When the bus arrived at the bus station, officers were waiting. The 23-year-old suspect, identified as Alfonso Edington, got off the bus with the missing 3-year-old in his arms. Authorities said they had to “pry the child away” from the kidnapper before taking him into custody.
“The bus driver is a hero. An absolute hero,” said Milpitas Police Chief Steve Pangelinan. “And, I credit the Valley Transit Authority for receiving information from us and quickly disseminating that to their drivers in the field,” he added, giving praise to all of those who were behind the scenes but also responsible for the successful rescue.
Thankfully, the child appeared to have no physical injuries. However, the mental scars resulting from an ordeal like this one can last a lifetime. The outcome could have been much worse if not for the bravery and vigilance of bus driver Tim Watson, though. After saving the 3-year-old, he broke down. “This could have been my child that was abducted… I feel I did what any father would do,” he said.
Tim Watson is an everyday hero. Had he been aloof and unconcerned about what was going on in the back of his bus, God knows what might have happened to the 3-year-old boy he saved. Please share this story to show him your support and to remind others that it’s important to pay attention to what’s going on around you. Who knows, you could be the one that saves a life.