'Guardians of the City': Bus Driver Saves Missing Autistic Boy Wandering in Freezing Weather
On Feb. 22, bus driver Ambrose Younge was driving his normal route in Minneapolis when he noticed something odd.
He’d only been on the job for four months, but that had been plenty of time to get acquainted with what “normal” looked like for the area, and this was anything but.
It was a cold, snowy day. Younge spotted a boy who looked out of place.
“I saw a young child, maybe 4 to 6 years old, standing in the snow with a backpack,” Younge told Metro Transit. “It was a snow day, and I knew that in-person classes were canceled.”
“That was the day that all the snow in the world decided to come to Minnesota,” he added to KARE-TV.
Things only got more strange from there. The boy tried to open the door of a car, but the car drove off without him, and the boy fell into the street.
That’s when the bus driver knew something needed to be done.
“As a bus operator, it’s my job to take care of people,” Younge said. “Here’s a kid in need — I need to get him someplace safe and warm.”
On Feb. 22, Ambrose noticed a young child with a backpack standing outside in the cold on a snow day when classes were canceled. “Here’s a kid in need – I need to get him someplace safe and warm.” Read the full story about saving the lost child at https://t.co/TjcSWDIN8t pic.twitter.com/uJjWkney0c
— Metro Transit (@MetroTransitMN) March 10, 2023
He soon realized the boy was nonverbal, but managed to coax him onto the bus where he’d be protected from the elements. From there, Younge called his supervisor, who called the police.
“I could tell the child was very anxious,” Younge said. “He was nonverbal and difficult to communicate with, but I kept an eye on him and kept talking to him.”
Officer Juan Peralta took the call and confirmed that a caretaker had reported a missing child who fit the description Younge had given his supervisor.
Soon, officers were able to take over from Younge and get the child home to his family, who were incredibly grateful for his return. They confirmed that the boy was autistic and had managed to travel 15 blocks from home on that snowy day.
After the child was returned, the focus went back to Younge and his heroic work.
Younge denied that he is a hero, but agreed that he and his fellow bus drivers have a special responsibility.
“Bus operators are the eyes and ears of the city,” Younge said. “We’re here to help.”
“That’s what I would hope someone would do for my child. … I guess we’re the guardians of the city.”
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