The bus driver never expected her day to be so disrupted by this boy.
A huge part of today’s society takes the bus every day. From businessmen who commute to work to children who go to school. You could say that society rests on the shoulders of the great drivers who take us from A to B.
They do everything they can to get you to your destination on time. A situation like this is very unique.
A certain kind of person
To become a bus driver, you have to be cut of a certain cloth. In addition to the regular, quiet citizens you drive back and forth, you sometimes have to deal with people who are loud, arrogant, dirty or otherwise annoying.
Margaret had been a bus driver for ten years and thought she’d been through it all. But nothing could have prepared her for what would happen during that one shift…
Margaret had never had a passenger like this. In the ten years that she has been behind the wheel of a bus, she has seen almost anything you can think of. Drunks, beggars, she has had to kick quite a few passengers off her bus because they were a nuisance to others.
It was a shift like any other. Margaret was on her usual early morning ride when she noticed something very strange at a certain bus stop…
She stopped at the bus stop. Once the doors were open, she saw a little boy standing on the doorstep. The boy was shaking on his legs and it was obvious that he had been crying. The boy looked anxiously at Margaret, who motioned for him to get in. Once the boy was inside the warm bus, Margaret asked him a question.
“Where are you going?” she asked the little boy.
Margaret may not have any kids of her own, but she was very good with children. She could see that this boy needed help and reassurance. So, she asked the question with a voice full of pity. The boy swallowed a few times, but seemed to feel a bit more comfortable afterward.
The answer was not what Margaret expected!
As Margaret asked the question, she took another good look at the boy. It was a cool morning and the dew was still on the grass around the bus stop. There was not much to notice about the boy’s clothing, but when her eyes drifted further down, she realized that he was missing something.
This details was very alarming to Margaret.
Margaret saw that the boy had no shoes on. He wasn’t even wearing socks. He had been barefoot, in the cold, waiting for the bus. This was something Margaret had never experienced before. She couldn’t think of a good reason for the boy to be waiting at the bus stop like this. In addition, the boy seemed very scared.
Something wasn’t right here…
The boy seemed to hesitate. He didn’t immediately answer Margaret’s question, but stared at his bare feet for a while. Margaret waited patiently. She had a feeling that the boy might be in trouble. The bus had arrived at this stop too early, so Margaret could take her time without the other passengers running late.
The boy looked back at Margaret, who had become very curious about the boy’s story…
The boy bit on his trembling lip. You could tell he had been through something. Margaret was very curious as to why the child had been standing barefoot at the bus stop. She leaned a little closer to him and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Can I help you with something, boy?” she whispered reassuringly.
The boy knew he was safe with Margaret. He decided to share his story with her.
The boy said that he had been playing in his front yard that morning, when suddenly a rabbit darted by. Since he had never seen a rabbit in the wild, the boy ran after it. He was very curious where the animal would lead him.
Then disaster struck…
The boy lost the rabbit after a while. The animal had disappeared behind a tree and the boy could not find it anywhere. When the boy looked around, he saw that he had ended up in a forest. He decided to go back home, but quickly realized he was lost.
The little boy walked around confused and scared, not knowing how to get back home.
The bus stop
Then the boy saw the bus stop. The bright lad realized that if he stood there, a bus would drive by. He would be able to get in and find his way home. This was, of course, quite exciting. It took quite some time before a bus finally showed up. Margaret had finally stopped in front of him and that made the boy feel very relieved.
The story seemed to have a happy ending, but something gnawed at Margaret. Something didn’t sit right with her.
Not in danger
Margaret felt a little better after the boy had finished talking. The boy was just lost. He’d been smart enough to wait at the bus stop for a bus to show up. It could have been much worse: the boy could have been abandoned or kidnapped. He had been playing barefoot in his yard until he was distracted by the rabbit running past.
Still, there was something about the boy’s story that gave Margaret the creeps.
The boy may not have been left behind or kidnapped, but he was still far from home. By now, somewhere in town, a concerned parent would have realized that their child had disappeared from the yard. Margaret couldn’t help but think about how this mom or dad must be feeling right now. There was just one big problem… Margaret was still at work and the bus was full of passengers who had to arrive at work on time.
Then Margaret made a very extraordinary decision.
Margaret called her boss on the built-in radio and told her boss she was taking the rest of the morning off. After reporting this, she got up and turned towards the passengers. She told them that although it was very upsetting for them, getting the boy home safely was now her priority. The passengers understood all this and got out without creating too much trouble.
Now that Margaret was no longer tied to her route, she could focus all her attention on the boy. Unfortunately, she hadn’t foreseen the problem that arose then.
The new problem
As it turned out, the boy didn’t know his address. He also couldn’t describe his house well. All he knew, it turned out, was his name and his age. Margaret was sure his house had to be somewhere around here, a boy his age couldn’t have walked tens of miles, but that was it.
How on earth was she supposed to find his house?
Considering all options
One of Margaret’s ideas was to use social media. She considered posting a photo of the boy online, hoping his parents would see the photo. But this also had a downside. What if people with bad intentions reacted? Or if the parents got angry because Margaret had posted a picture of their child on the Internet without permission? No, she should look for an alternative.
But first there was something else Margaret had to deal with.
Margaret heard a grunt. When she looked to her side, she saw the boy rubbing his stomach with his hand. Margaret asked the boy if he had had breakfast yet, whereupon the boy indicated that he had gone after the rabbit with an empty stomach. The poor boy was starving. Margaret decided to drive to the nearest fast-food chain, where she ordered him a kid’s meal. The boy eagerly shoved down the high-calorie food. After he had eaten his fill, they walked back to the bus together.
During their layover, Margaret decided that she could not solve this problem on her own. Curious whose help she enlisted? Read on quick!
The search for help
The next stop was the police station. The little boy seemed to be very frightened by this location, which was crowded with police officers. He had been away from home for so long that he was now beginning to get very upset. He wanted to go back to his mom and dad. Margaret reassured the boy. The police would help them find his parents. By now they would be very worried and miss him as much as he missed them.
This seemed to make the boy feel more at ease. Margaret was glad that the search was almost over.
At the station
The officer on duty listened to the boy carefully. Margaret added his story here there. The officer asked if the boy wanted a cookie. He said yes. The officer got up and motioned for Margaret to follow. On the way to the cafeteria, he thanked the Good Samaritan.
The officer assured Margaret that she could go back to work and leave the boy to the police. But her statement had to be taken first.
The officer told Margaret that his supervisor would take her statement. She was put in a separate room, provided with a cup of tea, and had to wait there for the supervisor. This did not sit well with Margaret, the boy was now left all alone in the other room. She hoped that taking this statement wouldn’t take too much time so she could quickly get back to the poor boy.
Unfortunately, it didn’t go as planned…
The officer opened the door to the room again and told Margaret that unfortunately his supervisor was busy with another case, so it could take a while. He asked if he could do anything for her. Rather annoyed, Margaret demanded that she be taken back to the boy.
The officer on duty was shocked by the request. It seemed like he was trying to hide something. Margaret’s fantasy ran wild. Was there a reason they were set apart?
The truth comes out
Then the cop tells her that he completely forgot to bring the cookie to the boy. He was so busy with other things that he completely forgot about his promise. Of course, Margaret was allowed to go back to the boy. They walked to the room where the boy was waiting. The cop didn’t forget the cookie this time.
Luckily the supervisor showed up quickly too.
The supervisor thanked Margaret and the boy for waiting. She gave the officer clear instructions: he had to give the boy’s age, name and description to all police stations in the city. Meanwhile, she took Margaret’s statement.
It didn’t take long before they got a response from a nearby police station. Presumably the boy’s parents had reported there. Fortunately, the description was distributed in time!
Everything will be fine
The boy would be reunited with his parents before Margaret’s afternoon shift started! This was very fortunate for her, because she only canceled the morning shift. In the afternoon she would have to drive her routes again. Margaret pulled out a brush and made sure the boy’s hair looked neat. She didn’t want his parents to get any more worried when they saw him again.
Not long after, the parents burst into the office. They had been looking for him all morning. None of them knew that this story would come to an end…
The boy’s parents were very happy to have their son back. The boy explained what had happened and got a big hug from his mother. His father looked on approvingly as he told how smart and brave he had been. The two overjoyed parents were very grateful to Margaret. They didn’t know how to thank her. Margaret laughed. For her, it was rewarding enough to see the three reunited.
Then something happened that none of them expected…
Child protection intervenes
Just as Margaret and the reunited family were about to walk out, the officer stopped them. All four of them were very confused. Did this story still have a tail? Why weren’t they allowed to go? The officer explained that in these kinds of situations the police were obliged to call in child protection. Although the boy was found safe, it was necessary to assess whether there had been negligence.
Everyone involved had to talk with a social worker, all apart from each other. The social worker came to carry out an emergency assessment. What would she conclude?
The social worker
It took half an hour for the social worker to finally walk into the office. Both the parents, Margaret and the son were completely exhausted by now. It had been a rough morning. Reluctantly, they went through the standard procedure. After four individual interviews, the social worker concluded that there had been no serious negligence and that they were all free to go.
Margaret just had one major concern…
The afternoon shift
The unexpected emergency assessment from Child Protective Services made it so late that it was impossible for Margaret to start her afternoon shift on time. She was afraid that her boss would be very angry because she already canceled her morning shift. Fortunately, the officers were willing to call her boss and explain the story. Her boss understood the situation and gave her the whole day off.
The boy’s parents gave Margaret the largest bunch of flowers she had ever seen.
The boy gave Margaret a big hug. It all ended well and everyone was happy. Margaret promised to keep in touch and exchanged contact details with the parents. The bus driver was hailed as a hero at work and was invited for several interviews.
Margaret and the little boy, Spencer, still return to the fast-food restaurant where they dined that day once every year.