On February 22, Ambrose Younge’s ability to notice something a little off made a big difference.
“I saw a young child, maybe 4 to 6 years old, standing in the snow with a backpack,” Younge said. “It was a snow day, and I knew that in-person classes were canceled.”
He kept watch as the child then decided to try to open a car door for what looked like a rideshare. The car drove off and the child fell into the street. Younge decided he needed to do something.
“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.”
So, Younge approached the child and asked them to board his Route 7 bus. While onboard, he contacted the Transit Control Center.
“I could tell the child was very anxious,” he said. “He was non-verbal and difficult to communicate with, but I kept an eye on him and kept talking to him.”
TCC supervisor John Mills took the call from Younge. Mills checked with police to see if there were any reports of a missing child and included a detailed description provided by Younge.
“He did a fantastic job in picking up the child, taking custody of him and then contacting TCC immediately,” Mills said. “He did exactly what should have been done.”
Minneapolis police received a lost child report from an autistic child’s caretaker that matched the description. Officer Juan Peralta intercepted the call and responded to it.
“We listen to the MPD channel, and we took note that a child was missing from the north side,” Officer Juan Peralta said. “So when Ambrose called, we were able to put two and two together.”
From the location of the call to where Younge discovered them, the child wandered about 15 blocks away from home. Both police departments worked together to ensure the child got home. As Metro Transit police training includes working with autistic people, Peralta was able to work with the child to get them safely home to extremely grateful parents.
And to Younge, this event underscores that bus operators do more than just get people from point A to point B.
“Bus operators are the eyes and ears of the city,” Younge said. “And, we’re here to help.”