Considering they spend all day, every day of their working lives on the road, bus drivers have probably seen it all.
But while most bus drivers have likely come across an unusual sight or two on an overpass, you’d never expect to see a barefoot toddler, wearing just a onesie, walking alone.
That’s exactly what Irena Ivic saw, however, when she was driving a Milwaukee bus route on a December morning.
Heart-stopping CCTV footage from Irena’s bus shows the tiny girl wandering along the sidewalk, dangerously close to passing vehicles, without an adult in sight.
Irena quickly took action, parking the bus and running across the busy street. Footage shows her grabbing the child before she can walk into the road, scooping her up, and carrying her back to the bus.
The frightened little girl was crying as Irena climbed back onto the bus, saying to a passenger,
“Oh, my God, I am shaking.”
Thanks to her quick thinking, Irena saved the baby’s life – and has been hailed a hero for her actions.
As for Irena, she simply believes she did what any person would have done, and said she was grateful to have been “in the right place at the right time”.
With the baby on Irena’s lap, one of the passengers on board the bus offered her coat to the child, who officials say was “cold to the touch” – unsurprisingly, as the local temperature was below freezing.
The little girl, who had been so scared to begin with, was fast asleep in Irena’s arms by the time police arrived.
The baby’s parents were eventually found. According to the baby’s father, his wife has a mental illness and had taken the little girl to a church near the overpass.
He thinks it’s likely that his wife forgot about their daughter, allowing the little girl to wander off. It’s unclear how long the little girl was left alone before he was rescued by Irena.
The mother hasn’t been charged for the incident.
Irena was honored at a special awards ceremony for her actions, with a spokesperson for Milwaukee County Transit System saying:
“That’s the sort of human impulse we should be celebrating and encouraging.”
He’s exactly right. We’re all so scared to take action nowadays, especially in situations involving children. It can be easy to second-guess yourself and wonder if you’re seeing what you think you’re seeing.
But if something doesn’t look right, you should absolutely do something about it.
It’s much better to be cautious and be wrong than to choose to do nothing at all – and to expose a child to danger as a result.
Acting on instinct is something that we rarely do anymore, but it might just save a person’s life.
Irena chose to act without second-guessing when she saw the toddler alone. She said she was “happy to help” the baby, adding:
“I absolutely love kids. I used to be a teacher and I have children of my own.”
MCTS released shocking statistics following this story, revealing that the baby girl was the ninth lost or missing child to be found by one of its bus drivers in recent years.
You can watch the heart-stopping video of Irena’s rescue just below.
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