PIEDMONT, S.C. — A special-needs school bus driver and aide here are being credited with finding a boy on Monday morning who had gone missing the night before.
Bus driver Carlos and aide Linda (the two did not want their last names to be used) were on their daily route for Greenville County Schools when they saw a boy riding a bicycle erratically in the middle of the roadway, the two said in a video posted on the district's Facebook page. They were concerned because neither of them had seen a child riding a bicycle in the heavily wooded area before, and they had just discussed a news story they had seen about a missing boy in the area.
Carlos slowed down the bus and was able to get the boy to stop. He and Linda confirmed that the boy was the same one in the news report after the boy told them his name. The boy then got off his bike and began running, and Carlos radioed the bus yard and asked Linda to stay on the bus while he ran after the boy. (District policy allows the bus driver to leave the bus if the aide stays aboard to take care of the students, Beth Brotherton, the director of communications for the district, told WYFF. She also said she didn’t know how many students were on board at the time.) Carlos was able to convince the boy to get on the bus. He was thirsty, Linda said, so they gave him some water and grapes. Carlos radioed the bus yard and the boy was taken to safety.
"We are a special-needs bus ... and we just thought this [child] needed some special attention," Linda added in the video. "[We were] just in the right place at the right time."
“Their instincts and training kicked in, allowing them to realize that he was not an ordinary child riding his bike to school, but rather a vulnerable young person in need of help,” Brotherton said in an email. “We are proud of their teamwork.”
Watch a video of Carlos and Linda recounting the experience, posted on the district’s Facebook page, below.