Bus drivers transport hundreds of people on a daily basis. They see various faces get on and off their nozzles. Some are regulars, and some they only see you that day. That’s precisely the experience Tim Watson has on his daily bus route. But one fateful day, a couple of new faces would become stuck in his mind forever.
When a man and a little boy boarded his bus on July 5, 2015, Watson couldn’t have imagined what he would have to do next. But thanks to his sharp eyes and instinctive actions, Watson would become a hero. When Tim Watson arrived for work on Friday morning, he didn’t expect anything out of the ordinary. Most days were typically the same for the bus driver. He’d start his route and watch the collection of passengers pass through the bus at each stop.
In the eight months that Watson had been working for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, he’d seen his fair share of passengers. Some were happy to be there, while others had seen better days. Each passenger was preoccupied with their lives, and he knew to stay out of their business until one little boy entered the bus. Watson’s route started at the Great Mall in the Bay Area city of Mil Pedis, California. There were the usual passengers on their daily commute to school or work, but occasionally there were a few who were taking his route for the first time.
As Watson was preparing to start his route, a man came up to him. He asked me what time the bus was leaving. I told him it leaves at 11:13 am He told me an independent Journal. Watson didn’t think much of it, but the man would turn out to be someone he paid close attention to.
Shortly after his inquiry, the man boarded the bus with a little boy. He attempted to pay for the bus fare with $2, but Watson informed him it cost $4 to ride the express bus. That’s when the man whipped out a transit card for disabled persons to get a reduced fare. The man, who looked to be about in his mid 20s, didn’t appear disabled, but Watson knew not to make assumptions and let them board the bus. The man and the boy quietly walked to some seats toward the back.
As they sat down, Watson noticed that the little boy had started crying. This was not an unusual sight to see on the bus. He’d seen many young children board the bus with their families and start having temper tantrums. Watson figured that that must be what was going on with this little boy and proceeded to mind his own business. But still, there was something about the boy’s demeanor that Watson couldn’t get out of his mind.
It didn’t seem like he was having a typical temper tantrum. Watson began his 15 miles bus route, and as much as he needed to pay attention to the road. He kept glancing at the teary eyed boy through his rear view mirror. The man tried to get the boy to keep quiet, even telling him to try to go to sleep. Still, the boy continued to cry, which gave Watson a strange feeling.
There was something about this boy’s sadness that just didn’t seem right, and Watson couldn’t help but feel like he needed to keep his eye on the situation. That’s when he heard a beeping sound and soon it would be time for Watson to spring into action. The VTA was alerting all of its drivers of a child abduction that occurred earlier that morning. A three year old boy was taken from the Milpitas Public Library that day at around 10:40 Am. As Watson read more of the urgent message, his mind started to put two and two together.
The message described the missing three year old is wearing a dark blue shirt, Plaid shorts, and red croc sandals. Watson instantly thought of the boy who was crying in the back of the bus and wondered if there was a connection there. He peered into his rear view mirror but couldn’t get a good look at what the boy was wearing. Watson couldn’t do much at that moment as he was driving, so he continued on his route. Despite trying to put it out of his mind, Watson’s parental instincts wouldn’t let him as a father of two himself.