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Bus drivers in large cities are trained to deal with all sorts of situations. Because they’re ferrying around the public, they have no idea who they’re going to encounter on any given day – or if they’ll be in the right state of mind. Sometimes bus drivers need to worry about people getting violent. I’ve seen in first hand during a bus ride in Portland, Oregon. Bus drivers become hyper aware of their surrounds. They can often spot when something is amiss before it becomes a problem. As a bus driver in Milwaukee County, Jeannie Mitchell has dealt with a lot of strange events. But everything else pales in comparison to what happened in this instance.
During a regular shift on her regular Route 35 trip, Mitchell noticed something going wrong down the street. There were two small children walking along the busy road. They appeared to be all alone. They held each other’s hands – like they’d been taught to or something – and continued walking.
Mitchell stopped the bus and opened the door. She got a closer look and saw both children looked terrified. The small one was about a year old and the “older” sister was helping him stay standing. He had clearly only learned to walk weeks before.
With no parents or guardians in sight, Mitchell knew she had to do something. She was not going to let these babies continue on their way along the Milwaukee street exposed to would-be kidnappers and pedophiles.
“Sweetie,” Mitchell asked the older girl. “Where ya’ll going. Who are you with?”
Because Mitchell’s bus is equipped with a dashcam that records sound, the whole encounter was caught on camera. And it catches the altruistic Mitchell doing a good deed that may have saved these two babies’ lives.
Mitchell mom instincts took over and she pestered the 5-year-old girl for answers. She wanted to know where they lived and who they were with. She worried they were running from a violent situation at home.
Because it was cold, the babies were wrapped in hooded jackets. Although Mitchell knew drivers weren’t supposed to leave the bus unless on break, she broke the rules and went out to the children. She wanted to earn their trust to help keep them safe.
She brought them on board and called the police. When the officer arrived, they learned that the children had decided to run away from the babysitter. Clearly, the babysitter was not paying attention at all.
The children knew that a relative lived nearby. That’s where they were talking to when Mitchell saved them from the abundant hazards of Milwaukee.
Mitchell was happy to help. Fifteen years ago, her then 5-year-old was staying with relatives when he went missing for 12 hours. She couldn’t let that happen to these babies’ parents. A stranger helped bring her little boy home then, and now she helped these children today.
Watch the video below to see MCTS driver Jeannie Mitchell save the day.
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