Bus drivers become experts at understanding the normal traffic patterns and environments of the streets their routes cover. Although bus drivers normally do not receive much credit for this useful knowledge, they often become the unspoken heroes in their communities for their keen observations.
Milwaukee County Transit System bus driver, Jeannie Mitchell, was extra alert when she saw two small children walking alone on the street. Seeing the two young ones caught her attention and raised alarms because of a heart-wrenching experience she had almost 15 years ago.
Jeannie Mitchell had her own son, but there was a day when she wondered if she would ever see him again. Her son was just five years old when he went missing for 12 excruciating hours.
Mitchell’s son had walked out of a relative’s home and those 12 hours that he was missing were the worst 12 hours of Mitchell’s life. Thankfully her son was safely returned, and now 15 years later, Mitchell helped to ensure two young children would safely return home to their family.
As Mitchell drove the city bus down Hopkins Street, something stood out from her normal Route 35 drive. Two tiny kids holding hands were slowly walking down the sidewalk with no adult supervisor in sight.
The dash cam records her saying, “Where are these babies going?” with concern in her voice. She slowed down to a stop and opened the bus doors.
She asked the confused children where they were going and if they were with anybody. They stopped and listened to the bus driver, but it was not until Mitchell stepped off the bus and bent down to talk to them that the older child was able to explain their situation.
The older of the two children explained that they left their babysitter’s side to find a relative’s house. They were clearly lost so Mitchell brought them onto the bus and called the police.
A Milwaukee police officer arrived on the scene and found out that the older child was a five-year-old girl and the younger child was just one year old. The police got in touch with the children’s mother who was extremely thankful for Mitchell’s observant and immediate attention to her children in need.
Two young children wandering the streets alone could have turned out much worse, but thankfully Mitchell had the instinct to temporarily stop her main duty to care for her community in a different way. Her quick thinking may have saved the children’s lives!
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