PORTLAND, Ore. (PIX11) – He doesn’t want to be called a hero, but it’s hard not to attach the title to a bus driver who plucked a diaper-clad toddler from a busy street.
“Please don’t call me a hero,” bus operator Bill Clark said. “I’m not a hero. I just did what anyone should do.”
Clark was driving a Line 20 bus near Linden Avenue and Division Street on May 23 when he saw a 2-year-old wandering perilously close to a busy intersection. The child was barefoot and wearing just a diaper and a t-shirt.
Clark’s touching encounter with the little boy was captured on the bus’ cameras, and released Thursday by TriMet, the public transit agency in Portland, Ore.
He stopped the bus and went to check on the boy. When Clark didn’t see a parent around, he took the child by the hand, walked him to the bus and lifted him aboard.
Clark called dispatch, which told him to meet police at a nearby transit center.
Sitting on the front seat of the bus, his feet dangling well above the floor, the boy was shy. He didn’t want to talk much, but Clark picked up on a universal word: yummy.
“I asked him if he wanted some hot chocolate, and when I said chocolate, he lit up and said ‘chocolate!’” Clark said.
Clark tested the cup to make sure it wasn’t too hot, then he gave the boy a treat. Plus some oatmeal raisin cookies to bide the time until workers arrived.
The boy was identified only as 2-year-old James, who wandered away from his apartment as his father, who worked a late shift, was sleeping, according to the Gresham Police Department.
Human services workers took the boy home and told his parents to install child locks to prevent another escape, police said.