MINNEAPOLIS — A Metro Transit bus driver is being celebrated for going above and beyond to help a child during a recent Twin Cities snowstorm.
As a major winter blast barreled down on the Twin Cities on Feb. 22, Ambrose Younge was driving his Route 7 bus in Minneapolis when he noticed a little boy was standing alone in the snow, Metro Transit explained in a recent blog post.
Younge said he knew something was wrong when he realized the boy, who he guessed was between 4 and 6 years old, was wearing a backpack. On Friday, officials confirmed that the young boy, who has autism, was 9 years old.
“It was a snow day, and I knew that in-person classes were canceled," Younge said in the post.
After watching the child fall over while trying to get into what appeared to be a rideshare vehicle, Younge approached the boy and invited him to board the bus.
"As a bus operator, it’s my job to take care of people,” he said. “Here’s a kid in need – I need to get him someplace safe and warm.”
Once the boy was safely onboard, Younge contacted the Transit Control Center, and TCC supervisor John Mills checked with police to see if there were any active missing child reports. Turns out, Younge's hunch was right – Minneapolis police had received a lost child report from a caretaker for a child with autism that matched the description of the boy Younge had on his bus.
“I could tell the child was very anxious,” Younge said. “He was non-verbal and difficult to communicate with, but I kept an eye on him and kept talking to him.”
According to Metro Transit, authorities determined the boy walked about 15 blocks away from his home. But Younge says he's not a hero.
"I consider myself a dad," said Younge. "Because that’s what I would hope someone would do for my child."
Metro Transit Police Officer Juan Peralta, who was trained to work with people who have autism through the department, worked with Minneapolis Police to get the child home to his "extremely grateful parents," the agency said. Peralta also ruled out any chance of neglect during his investigation, while also praising the partnership with bus operators.
"That is why we’re champions of safety in the city because we have that partnership and not every police department has that," said Officer Peralta.
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