You would assume that the duties and encounters of a bus driver would be of the mundane variety, but bus driver Tim Watson had an experience that derailed his usual routine. When two unfamiliar passengers hopped on his bus, something didn’t feel quite right to him.
He had a gut feeling that told him to pay attention to his surroundings as this would be a workday, and the two passengers would never forget. Northern California resident Tim Watson may have posed as your typical bus driver, but in the end, he proved to be much more heroic than what his job title implies. Tim had his regulars, the people he made daily small talk with on his familiar vehicle.
Some became his dear friends. He was just a friendly guy with an ordinary job, and he expected nothing more than to drive people where they needed to go. But on what seemed like just another day on the job, Tim was maneuvering his scheduled bus route when a young man and a child walked on the bus together. Tim had never seen them before but thought nothing of it at first until the two sat down. While keeping his eyes on the road, Tim observed the odd behaviors of the two.
He assumed the man was in his mid-20s and noticed that he seemed strangely distracted. But it was how he treated the kid that worried Tim. They sat toward the middle of the automobile, and the young man visibly attempted to restrain the restless child. Then, the child started crying. Though he’d seen young kids cry on the bus on several occasions, Tim felt something was off about this time.
While Tim quietly observed the little boy through his rearview mirror, he saw blatant fear in the child’s eyes, something not of a typical temper tantrum. This was a dangerous situation, Tim knew it in his gut. As Tim’s bus drive continued, so did his worry. He couldn’t help but continue to look at the duo from his safe distance, hoping the weirdness in it was all in his head. But nothing would reassure him.
As the ride went on, the youngster wouldn’t stop crying, and in response, the man, who seemed to become increasingly more anxious, urged him to stay quiet. It wasn’t just that he noticed the passenger’s behavior; he saw it. Tim thought that something seemed familiar about the situation. He just couldn’t put his finger on what it was. But then it hit him like a ton of bricks.
He suddenly remembered a news story he had just read that morning regarding a missing person’s report. The newspaper disclosed that a three-year-old boy had been missing from a San Francisco library. He then tried to rack his brain for more details before he proceeded with doing anything. See, Watson is a father of two, so he possessed some paternal instincts. While he didn’t want to assume anything too soon, he also felt that he needed to save this child if he was truly the one who police were desperately searching for.
Tim concluded that the only way for him to be more sure of his situation was if he were to get a better look at the frightened boy. But how could he accomplish this investigation of sorts while driving the bus? While Tim did his best to remain calm and appear as unbothered as ever, he noticed the man seemed hyper-aware of his surroundings, as if he was looking to get off the bus. Tim had to act quickly. He confidently made an announcement, saying a previous rider left behind a green backpack.
This was obviously a lie, but Tim implied this backpack was of great importance, which gave him an opportunity to stop and check the bus for the bag. While Tim scanned the bus and the passengers cooperatively checked on the seats for the non-existent backpack, he got a close look at the distressed little boy, who astonishingly donned the same outfit as the boy on the news, which included a pair of unmistakable red Crocs.
After the failed search, Tim went back to his seat and announced, “I’m looking for a green backpack. What I’m really trying to do is get back to the perpetrator to look at the boy with the clothing. Look over for the bag where I see his red Crocs.
That was good enough for me.” Ready to continue driving while also devising stage two of his now-animated plan, since the bus’s engine was loud enough to cover up Tim’s hushed voice, he cautiously reached for his phone and dialed 9-1-1.
The police gave him strict instructions on what to do in his vulnerable position. Although Tim was as nervous as he could be, his complete determination to save the kidnapped boy outweighed his vast fear. Tim anxiously went about his route, planning to go to his next scheduled stop as advised by the authorities over the phone.
They assured him that the police would definitely be there waiting. When they arrived at the stop, police swarmed the bus, having covered both of its exits, anticipating the man and boy’s departure. One by one, the bewildered passengers evacuated the vehicle until finally, the suspect emerged. It was him. The police immediately pried the poor boy from the kidnapper’s arms and arrested the man on the spot.
Despite his petty struggle to squirm away, the three-year-old was smart enough to understand what was happening, so he grabbed onto the hand of one of the officers. The boy’s parents were joyous that their sweet son had been saved, and it wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for Tim.
The boy’s family, as well as police officers, were beyond grateful for his act of bravery. Tim Watson then became a near-celebrity, but the best was yet to come for him. He was interviewed by several TV stations, written about by every news site under the sun, and even threw out the first pitch at the San Jose Giants minor league baseball game.
Tim was truly touched by all the attention and praise.