Age 16 Girl Attacked by Strange Man at Bus Stop, Hero Driver Arrives Just in Time
Waiting at the city bus stop in Fresno, California, is part of daily life for 16-year-old Ny’ja Davis. A high-achieving student, Ny’ja rides the city bus each day to a neighboring high school known for its strong academic programs.
It was the morning of Feb. 6, and just like any other day, Ny’ja found herself waiting for the bus. A distinct feeling of uneasiness washed over the girl’s body when a strange man sat down beside her.
The man stared at the teen with an intense focus, prompting Ny’ja to stand up and wait alongside the curb instead. Her uneasiness turned to terror as she felt the man grab the straps of her backpack.
“He started pulling on me, yanking on me and grabbing on me,” Ny’ja recalled. “I started screaming for somebody to help me, but nobody came.”
Then, like a warrior riding a horse, a 65-year-old bus driver named Socorro Pelayo drove in to save the day. Pelayo immediately recognized the girl’s distress, and opened the bus doors as quickly as she could.
Shaking and crying, Ny’ja clambered onto the bus, and Pelayo wasted no time slamming the doors shut in the assaulter’s face.
The assaulter was banging on the sides of the bus as Pelayo called the police.
“She was crying and scared,” Pelayo said of Ny’ja. “I said, ‘Hold on, the police are coming.’”
Pelayo reassured the girl that she was safe now, out of harm’s way. “He wasn’t getting on my bus,” she said of Ny’ja’s attacker.
Fresno police arrested 29-year-old Julian Medina, charged with alleged felony sexual battery and annoyance/molestation of a child.
According to Sgt. Israel Reyes, Medina admitted he intended to rape the teenager, but the arrival of the city bus foiled his plans.
Pelayo, who has been a bus driver for more than 30 years, prays over her bus and her route daily.
“I touch every seat and say, ‘God, cover all these people and help them. Bless them,’” Pelayo explained.
“I tell God, ‘You drive this bus,'” Pelayo said. “I’m not driving this bus.”
Pelayo has been hailed a hero for her quick-thinking, grandmotherly instincts to protect a child. With a soft smile, Pelayo said it was nothing — she’s a bus driver at heart, which means looking out for others and keeping them safe.
“We appreciate her, and I thank God for her,” said Ny’ja’s mother, Lakayla Green. Pelayo is a bus driver by trade, but to Ny’ja and her family, Pelayo is a guardian angel, ready to protect and serve.
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