Bus Driver Uses Quick Wits To Thwart Kidnapper

Over 800 children have been saved by AMBER alerts

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According to the U.S. Department of Justice, more than 800 children have been rescued from kidnappers since AMBER alerts began in 1996. What started as a small program in the Dallas-Fort Worth area has expanded to a nationwide network touching all 50 states. Of the 800 children who’ve been rescued because of the program one was saved by a heroic bus driver.

In June 2015, Tim Watson was driving his bus for the San Francisco-area Valley Transportation Authority when he received an AMBER alert about a boy who went missing from a local library. “It described a three year old wearing a blue shirt, plaid shorts with red crocs,” Watson told ABC News. Moments after, he noticed a boy on his bus who was crying and fit description. But in order to determine if he was the missing child, Watson had to see if he was wearing red crocs.

Watson told his passengers that he needed to look for a missing backpack and would have to pull the bus over to check. After stopping the bus, he approached the row where the boy and his abductor were seated. Pretending that he was looking for the backpack, he bent down, looked under the seat, and saw the child’s red crocs. Watson returned to his driver’s seat and alerted authorities. “I feel I just did what any father would do,” Watson said. The suspect was apprehended at a local transit station and was later revealed to be schizophrenic.