A bus driver became an unlikely hero after she spotted a terrified kid in her bus accompanied by a young man. She had to follow her gut, but where did it take her?
It was a rainy day, but that didn’t stop 50-year-old Emma Stone from leaving her home to drive her bus. She woke up in a good mood, grateful for her life, and even the bad news she heard on TV about a missing boy as she made breakfast could not make her feel less euphoric. That day she said goodbye to her kids, left her home, and got on her bus.
She had been driving the same one for more than a year and usually ferried passengers within a regular route in their small town, which meant she was a bit familiar with the faces that got on.
One fateful day, Emma was on her regular route. Everything was proceeding smoothly, and because she was in a great mood, she brightly greeted each passenger as they boarded her bus.
“Have a nice day,” she said to one as he disembarked. “Do take care of yourself and the baby,” she urged another woman who had just delivered a child.
Her good cheer evaporated rapidly when she stopped to pick up a set of passengers at a bus stop. There was an older man with a pock-marked nose, a woman who looked like an aspiring actress, and a man and boy pair.
At first glance, she could recall the older man and actress but the boy and the young man with him were new faces to her.
They were not regulars, that much was clear, and the man looked too young to already have a child that old. She also noticed that the child seemed to be crying, not the typical one caused after a temper tantrum failed to achieve its goal but actual tears borne of fear.
“That boy is scared,” she thought to herself as she spared a glance to where they were seated. The boy was still crying. However, nobody paid any attention to him; everyone was busy on their phones, minding their businesses.
Emma wondered if she should as well; after all, it could just be two brothers making a trip one didn’t like. She discarded the thought.
Something was going on. Her gut told her something was off, and something had been nagging at her since she set eyes on the boy, like a repressed memory buried deep in her subconscious.
As she continued to deliver passengers along her route, Emma kept an eye on the strange young man and the child. He hardly tried to comfort the boy once. Something was definitely up.
She took one last look at the boy, but as she returned her eyes to the road, he looked up and caught sight of a slim necklace with a crucifix as a pendant. It hit her then where she had seen the boy.
He was the Spanish boy whose kidnapping had been announced earlier that morning on TV while she was getting ready. She remembered he was from a Catholic family, which explained why he went around with a crucifix as a pendant.
The 5-year-old boy had been kidnapped on his way to mass. It was all adding up, but Emma wanted to be sure. If it was a kidnapping, she would have to do something without scaring the kidnapper off.
Her thoughts drifted to the kids she left behind at home. “How would I feel if someone grabbed them and got away before my return?” she thought to herself. “Terrible, that’s how.”
The thought gave her the mental strength to make a plan without giving away the fact that she knew. First, she would make sure the boy was the one from the news.
Emma turned on the radio and found a channel broadcasting Catholic hymns. When she increased the volume, she noticed that the boy stiffened and grabbed hold of his neck chain. It was proof enough for her.
Next, she started working on getting him away from the kidnapper. She would soon reach the last bus stop on her circuit, which meant the boy would soon be lost again.
The bus stop was just on the outskirt of town, which meant the kidnapper planned to make his way out of town with the child. Come on Emma, think! she screamed in her head.
The boy and the man were seated too close to her so the man would hear her call the cops. She had to think of something else. Then it hit her.
If she could not make the call in the vehicle, she would do it outside. Just one intersection away from the last bus stop, Emma cleverly killed the bus engine.
Before anyone wondered what was going on, she announced that there was a fault with the engine and she would have to check it out. She quickly got off the bus and went around the back to “inspect the engine.” Outside she wasted no time before calling 911.
“911 what’s your emergency?” she heard the responder ask. “I wish to report the sighting of a young Catholic boy who was kidnapped a day ago.”
She gave the dispatch details of her bus and route, after which they warned her to keep acting natural until she reached the bus stop where cops would be waiting.
Emma returned to the car with a smile and announced that she was able to fix what was wrong with the bus. She kicked it into gear and slowly made her way to her last stop, hoping all the way that the police were waiting.
They were. Officers dressed as civilians met the bus at the next stop, and the boy was saved. The kidnapper never saw it coming.
The boy, whose name was Christian, was reunited with his parents, who personally thanked Emma for her bravery. “Oh it’s nothing,” Emma said. “I just did what any mom would do. If you feel something in your gut, you have to go with it.”