She ran to the boy’s side and walked him to safety
So much of our lives are changed — for the good and the bad — by timing. One little Milwaukee boy has a bus driver to thank for her timing, and for going out of her way to ensure he made it to safety.
Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) driver Cecilia Nation-Gardner spotted the six-year-old boy wandering through a busy intersection unattended and immediately jumped to his rescue, leaving her bus to stop traffic and get him onto the bus safely.
In the video, you can see Nation-Garner first honking, then running into the intersection trying to get the cars driving by him to stop. Once he was safely on the bus, she called the police. The little boy was identified as having a disability and had evidently wandered away from school.
According to a press release by the MCTS, Nation-Gardner is a mother of three and said she’d left her layover two minutes later than normal that day. “That’s why I say I was in the right place at the right time. It was meant for me to be there. God does everything for a reason,” she said.
She’s not the first bus driver to jump to action in an emergency situation. Milwaukee County bus driver Irena Ivic spotted a baby barefoot and in only a onesie running on the side of the road last December. She, too, stopped her bus, ran across a busy road to grab the girl, and wrapped her in a coat until police arrived. The press release stated that this was the tenth missing child MCTS drivers have found in recent years.
School bus drivers perform similar acts of heroism on a daily basis when cars speed pass stopped buses. The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services surveyed 97,000 school bus drivers across the country in 2014 and learned that more than 75,000 drivers illegally drive past school buses every day — 13 million violations every school year. The responsibility these drivers must feel is enormous.
Today, the little boy’s mother, Cassandra Garrett, met Nation-Gardner for the first time and thanked her for saving her son’s life. You can see the women embrace, Garrett visibly emotional and thankful for the bus driver’s quick thinking, which may have saved her son’s life.
Not only are bus drivers responsible for driving their passengers safely from one location to another, but they also spend so much time on the road they’re bound to run into difficult situations such as this one far too often. It takes a lot of courage to make a split second decision to act.
Luckily for this little six-year-old, Nation-Gardner was in the right place at the right time and we are so thankful everyone made it out of the situation safely.