Why This Bus Driver Instantly Called The Cops When A Boy Boarded His Bus

Bus drivers transport hundreds of people on a daily basis. They see various faces get on and off their buses. Some are regulars and some they will only see that day. That’s precisely the experience Tim Watson has on his daily bus route. But one fateful day, a couple of new faces would become stuck in his mind forever. When a man and a little boy boarded his bus on June 5, 2015, Watson couldn’t have imagined what he would have to do next. But thanks to his sharp eyes and instinctive actions, Watson would become a hero.

It Wasn’t Going To Be A Typical Day

tim watson bay area bus driver
@readersdigest/Twitter
@readersdigest/Twitter

When Tim Watson arrived for work one Friday morning, he didn’t expect anything out of the ordinary. Most days were typically the same for the bus driver. He’d start his route and watch the collection of passengers pass through his bus at every stop.

In the eight months that Watson had been working for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, he’d seen his fair share of passengers. Some were happy to be there, while others had seen better days. Each passenger was preoccupied with their lives and he knew to stay out of their business – until one little boy entered his bus.

One Man Asked Him A Question

bus driver saves child from kidnapper milpitas
YouTube
YouTube

Watson’s route started at the Great Mall in the Bay Area-city of Milpitas, California. There were the usual passengers on their daily commute to school or work but occasionally, there were a few who were taking his route for the first time.

As Watson was preparing to start his route, a man came up to him. “He asked me what time the bus was leaving. I told him it leaves at 11:13 a.m.,” he told Marin Independent Journal. Watson didn’t think much of it but the man would turn out to be someone he paid close attention to.

He Still Didn’t Suspect A Thing

bus driver saves child from kidnapper milpitas
Robert Alexander/Getty Images
Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Shortly after his inquiry, the man boarded the bus with a little boy. He attempted to pay for the bus fare with two dollars but Watson informed him it cost four dollars to ride the Express bus. That’s when the man whipped out a transit card for disabled persons to get a reduced fare.

The man, who looked to be about in his mid-twenties, didn’t appear disabled but Watson knew not to make assumptions and let them board the bus. The man and the boy quietly walked to some seats towards the back.

The Little Boy Started Crying

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Rae Russel/Getty Images
Rae Russel/Getty Images

As they sat down, Watson noticed that the little boy had started crying. This was not an unusual sight to see on the bus. He had seen many young children board the bus with their families and start having temper tantrums.

Watson figured that that must be what was going on with this little boy and proceeded to mind his own business. But still, there was something about the boy’s demeanor that Watson couldn’t get out of his mind. It didn’t seem like he was having a typical temper tantrum.

Something Was Off About The Way The Boy Cried

bus driver saves child from kidnapper milpitas
YouTube
YouTube

Watson began his 15-mile bus route and as much as he needed to pay attention to the road, he kept glancing at the teary-eyed boy through his rear-view mirror. The man tried to get the boy to keep quiet, even telling him to try to go to sleep.

Still, the boy continued to cry, which gave Watson a strange feeling. There was something about this boy’s sadness that just didn’t seem right and Watson couldn’t help but feel like he needed to keep his eye on the situation. That’s when he heard a beeping sound.

An Urgent Message Caused More Alarm

bus driver saves child from kidnapper milpitas
David McNew/Getty Images
David McNew/Getty Images

There were only six people on the bus during the first 15 minutes of Watson’s route. That’s when he received a message from the transit agency’s operation center. He didn’t usually check these messages mid-route but this one was important.

The VTA was alerting all of its drivers of a child abduction that had occurred earlier that morning. A three-year-old boy was taken from the Milpitas Public Library that day at around 10:40 A.M. As Watson read more of the urgent message, his mind started to put two and two together.

Could This Be The Same Boy?

bus driver saves child from kidnapper milpitas
Knar Bedian/Flickr
Knar Bedian/Flickr

The message described the missing three-year-old as wearing a dark blue shirt, plaid shorts, and red Croc sandals. Watson instantly thought of the boy who was crying in the back of his bus and wondered if there was a connection there.

He peered into his rear-view mirror but couldn’t get a good look at what the boy was wearing. Watson couldn’t do much at that moment as he was driving, so he continued on his route. Despite trying to put it out of his mind, Watson’s parental instincts wouldn’t let him.

Watson Needed To Check On The Boy

bus driver saves child from kidnapper milpitas
YouTube
YouTube

As a father of two himself, Watson’s heart sank as he read the urgent message. He thought of the missing child’s parents and couldn’t even begin to imagine how they must feel not knowing where their little boy was.

Watson tried to get a good look at the boy in the back of his bus but still couldn’t be sure he was the one the authorities were searching for. It wasn’t like he could just stop the bus right there and check. There were other passengers on the bus as well and he didn’t want to cause a scene.

The Guy Matched The Suspect’s Description

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CBSN/YouTube
CBSN/YouTube

The urgent message also described the suspect as an “African-American man approximately 25 years old and wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and jeans.” Watson instantly connected this description to the man who was with the boy on his bus.

At that moment, he knew that he needed to find a way to verify that these were the people police were looking for. Watson looked back at the man, who looked impatient to disembark. Watson had to find a way to verify that he matched the description of the suspect without tipping him off.

Watson Needed To Devise A Plan

bus driver saves child from kidnapper milpitas
YouTube
YouTube

Watson knew that the man could get off the bus with the boy at any moment, so he needed to devise a plan quickly to keep them on board. All the passengers on the bus apparently were unaware of the missing-child situation that was going on and were minding their own business.

Nearing the end of the route, Watson thought hard about what he should do next. That’s when he decided to do something out of the ordinary and pull off the freeway. He needed to execute this plan as seamlessly as possible.

The Green Backpack Was The Perfect Ploy

bus driver saves child from kidnapper milpitas
YouTube
YouTube

Watson stopped in front of the nearest McDonald’s and told passengers he was looking for a green backpack left behind by someone who’d already gotten off. It was the perfect excuse to get up and get a good look at the man and the little boy.

Luckily, none of the passengers questioned Watson’s impromptu stop since a lone backpack could’ve signaled something serious like a bomb threat. Asking the passengers to check under the seats while looking himself, Watson was able to slowly make his way toward the back of the bus.

It Was A Perfect Match

bus driver saves child from kidnapper milpitas
CBSN/YouTube
CBSN/YouTube

This was the perfect ruse for Watson to be able to get a good look at this suspicious man and the little boy. When he finally reached the row that they were in, he asked the man if he had seen the green backpack. The man replied that he had not.

At that point, Watson was able to get a good look at the boy’s clothes. “Sure enough I see the plaid shorts and red shoes. That’s what really stuck out in my mind,” Watson told ABC 7 News.

Watson Alerted Authorities Quietly

bus driver saves child from kidnapper milpitas
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Watson’s suspicions confirmed, he slowly made his way back to the driver’s seat. He proceeded to his regular route but decided to make a discreet phone call. If anyone had seen him, they could have figured he was letting headquarters know that he couldn’t find the green backpack.

Little did they know, Watson was making a call to the VTA dispatcher to tell them he believed the little boy and the suspected kidnapper were on his bus. At least the bus engine was loud enough so no one could hear him make the call.

Watson Was Told To Continue His Route

bus driver saves child from kidnapper milpitas
YouTube
YouTube

At that point, Watson was instructed on exactly what he should do. The dispatcher told Watson to continue on his route as normal, but to drive slowly. They alerted the police of Watson’s suspicions. Watson had already driven into the city of Fremont, miles away from where the boy was taken in Milpitas.

Watson was likely nervous about executing this plan successfully. If the suspect had any suspicion about what was going on, he could make the move to get away swiftly with the little boy but Watson wasn’t going to let that happen.

He Kept An Eye On The Suspect

bus driver saves child from kidnapper milpitas
YouTube
YouTube

Watson continued to drive cautiously as he neared the end of his route. He checked his rear-view mirror once again to check on the suspect and the little boy. The boy’s tears had subsided and the man looked like he was ready to disembark. Neither had suspected a thing.

Watson knew that the authorities were aware of the situation and had plans to apprehend the suspect. Still, he worried that one wrong move could tip the guy off and let him get away. Watson hoped that he could help save the little boy.

Police Were Quietly Following Them

bus driver saves child from kidnapper milpitas
Richard Bauer/Flickr
Richard Bauer/Flickr

Watson was nearing his next stop at the Fremont BART station. As he continued on the route, he noticed police cruisers pull up behind his bus with their lights flashing, but their sirens off. Luckily, there were no windows at the back of the bus that would allow the suspect to see any of this.

The police quietly followed the bus to its next stop. Watson continued on, tentatively coming to a halt when they finally arrived at the bus stop. While he engaged the brakes, Watson noticed several police officers approach the bus from behind.

The Suspect Was Arrested On The Spot

bus driver saves child from kidnapper milpitas
YouTube
YouTube

Watson was aware that these next few moments could make or break the boy’s rescue. If the suspect had noticed the cops waiting outside of the bus, he might have done something drastic.

“So I open my door one slowly, giving them time to get prepped and ready to go. I open up door two, the gentleman walks out calm, cool, collected as can be and they take him down on the spot,” Watson recalled to ABC 7 News. The suspect was completely caught off guard by the fact that police were already waiting for him.

The Parents Were Relieved

bus driver saves child from kidnapper milpitas
YouTube
YouTube

Despite a bit of resistance, police were able to detain and arrest the kidnapper. The little boy knew he was being rescued. His parents, who had already heard that the police had a potential lead, were notified that their little boy had been rescued.

They were so relieved to hear the good news and had an emotional reunion with their son when he was taken to the police station for questioning. They were too distraught to give news outlets their side of the story, but incredibly grateful for the heroic bus driver who followed his intuition

Watson Became A Local Hero

https://twitter.com/KRON4RFladeboe/status/611989266038587393
@KRON4RFladeboe/Twitter
@KRON4RFladeboe/Twitter

Once news of this rescue mission was made public, Tim Watson was lauded as a local hero. If not for his sharp eye and instincts, who knows where this little boy would’ve ended up had the kidnapper managed to get on one of the BART trains?

With the boy finally returned to his parents at police headquarters, Watson couldn’t believe what had just happened. “And that’s when my own kids came to mind and I just broke down. I couldn’t hold myself down. I just wanted to go inside the bus and reflect,” he said.

He Credits His Paternal Instincts

https://twitter.com/KRON4RFladeboe/status/611989266038587393
@KRON4RFladeboe/Twitter
@KRON4RFladeboe/Twitter

Police said that the suspect had no connections to the family. They were still trying to figure out his motives for kidnapping their son. Regardless of what they were, the man got on the right bus because Watson was driving it.

As a bus driver, Watson was taught what to do in these types of situations, especially those that dealt with suspected human trafficking. But it wasn’t his training that sprung him into action. “Even though we had all this training, the father instinct kicked in,” he told Milpitas Independent Journal.

A Police Officer Saved The Life Of A Girl Who Always Waved To Him

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Klynn Scales/Facebook
Klynn Scales/Facebook

At nine-years-old, Klynn Scales found her first hero; a local police officer who was assigned to make the rounds in her neighborhood every day. She kept track of what time he would be passing by her house and would sit by the window waiting. When he’d pass by, Klynn would excitedly wave to say hello.

The police officer enjoyed the friendly interaction and would wave back. Every day, the pair would exchange hellos, often brightening otherwise hard days. There’s a reason Klynn’s neighborhood was patrolled daily. She didn’t exactly have an easy childhood.

The Life Of Young Klynn Scales

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Klynn Scales/Facebook
Klynn Scales/Facebook

Klynn Scales grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. During the 1990s, when she was a little girl, she would help her mom take care of her two younger brothers. To anyone on the outside, she seemed like just another young girl living a normal life.

Her life, however, was anything but normal. Klynn’s neighborhood was so dangerous, she would look forward to seeing the police officer drive by her house every day. This was the truth of Klynn’s life, and somehow she found a way to embrace it. It was, for this reason, she survived through the most difficult time of her life.

Klynn Raised Her Brothers

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Klynn Scales/Facebook
Klynn Scales/Facebook

The house that Klynn Scales grew up in with her brothers and mother was in a neighborhood ruined by drugs and violence. It was no place for a child to have to grow up, but it was the reality of Klynn’s situation.

Making matters worse, Klynn’s mother was rarely home, having to work ruthless hours to keep a roof over her family’s heads. This meant a lot of Klynn’s life growing up was spent raising her brothers. That’s a lot to ask someone who isn’t even a teenager.

Klynn Played The Role Of Mother

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Klynn Scales/Facebook
Klynn Scales/Facebook

As the oldest sibling in a household with an absentee parent, Klynn took responsibility for her brothers. She knew they needed to eat, so she would walk through her dangerous neighborhood to go to 7-Eleven. Without money to pay for the essentials, young Klynn was forced to steal what she needed to survive.

The troubled life of Klynn and her brothers is heartbreaking to think about. No child should grow up without a childhood, and that’s essentially what happened. Klynn became a mother to her brothers, and her love drove her to do whatever needed to be done for their well being, even at her own health’s decline.

The Police Noticed Klynn

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Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Because of the way she was forced to live her life, it wasn’t long until the police noticed Klynn Scales. They learned everything they could about the down-on-their-luck family. One police officer in particular, found himself especially concerned.

This was the officer who ended up driving by Klynn’s house every day, becoming a light in an otherwise dark world. Their daily exchange became expected and highly anticipated. This officer was making a huge difference in Klynn’s life. He had no idea that before he knew it, he’d also be saving it.

The Officer Pledged His Allegiance To Klynn

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Klynn Scales/Facebook
Klynn Scales/Facebook

Not only did the unnamed police officer drive by Klynn’s house every day to make sure she was safe, he told her that he was there to protect her. Fully grown today, Klynn said, “Through all the bad situations, I would just picture him saying that he was here for us.”

This dedication helped Klynn get through even her darkest times, “those words would come to me during the worst times of my childhood life.” It wouldn’t be long until this promise would be fulfilled, proving to Klynn that good still existed in the world.

A Daily Greeting Became A Warning Sign

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Klynn Scales/Facebook
Klynn Scales/Facebook

Little Klynn Scales quickly grew attached to her new friend, “He was the one person that I trusted in my life as a kid.” She loved greeting him every day, and he loved waving back. When she didn’t show up to greet him one day he knew something was wrong.

Their greeting had become routine, and considering the neighborhood Klynn lived in and the responsibilities she had as a “mother,” her missing her daily greeting was a troubling warning sign that something wasn’t right.

The Officer Approached The House

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Klynn Scales/Facebook
Klynn Scales/Facebook

Cautiously, the police officer approached the Scales household and let his instincts take over. What he found when he opened the door was devastating. Little Klynn was laying on the floor, struggling to take a single breath.

The officer rushed Klynn to the emergency room, where all he could do was wait. We know now that Klynn survived, but imagine being this officer with no idea what was happening. We can’t imagine how hard it must have been to helplessly wait outside of the emergency room.

Klynn Was Given A Clean Bill Of Health

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Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Luckily for the police officer, his quick thinking saved Klynn’s life. At the hospital, it was determined she had suffered a severe episode of malnutrition. If he hadn’t have found her at the time he did, there’s a good chance Klynn would not be alive too.

Shortly after the incident, Klynn moved with her family to Texas. She was never able to say thank you to the man who had saved her life. Knowing it’s never too late, Klynn set out 20-years-later to track down her unnamed hero.

Klynn Turned To The Internet

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Klynn Scales/Facebook
Klynn Scales/Facebook

One of the firsts things Klynn did when she began searching for her hero was to post about her experience online. She didn’t know who might see what she was posting, but she stayed optimistic. Her optimism paid off when she saw a comment by Jennifer Jones.

Jones was a Sergeant with the Kansas City Police and saw Klynn’s story. She told Klynn she thought she knew the officer being described. Was Klynn about to find out the true identity of her childhood hero? Was her search for the truth uncovered this easily?

The Name Behind The Face Revealed

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ADAM BERRY/AFP/Getty Images
ADAM BERRY/AFP/Getty Images

In 2016, an officer named Jeff Colvin opened an email from Jennifer Jones. The email talked about Klynn and the story she wrote about online. She explained there was a little girl who lived down the street from the station Colvin worked at was grown up and looking for her “guardian angel.”

Colvin recognized the story right away. He knew who Klynn was, and knew that the little girl whose life he saved was able to grow up. Years of worry and wondering were flushed away with joy and happiness.

Colvin Was Ecstatic

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Klynn Scales/Facebook
Klynn Scales/Facebook

Just as Klynn Scales had never forgotten about Jeff Colvin, he had never forgotten her either. As he said, “I had actually thought about her and wondered whatever happened with her.” Now he didn’t have to wonder anymore, he knew the truth.

The truth made him ecstatic. He was overwhelmed with happiness to learn that Klynn was alive. He was also incredibly touched she remembered him and had reached out to find him. The only thing left to do was be reunited with Klynn.

A Reunion With Tears

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Klynn Scales/Facebook
Klynn Scales/Facebook

After 20 years not knowing what had happened to the other, Colvin and Klynn reunited in person. Both were overwhelmed with emotions. Klynn even broke down in tears upon seeing her childhood hero again. She admitted that she thought it would never happen.

Colvin’s life was changed by the reunion too. He had spent so long on the force dealing with more failures than successes he was losing his passion for the job. Seeing Klynn reignited a fire inside him.

Colvin Found The Love For His Job Again

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Klynn Scales/Facebook
Klynn Scales/Facebook

When Jeff Colvin saw Klynn for the first time in 20 years, something amazing happened. His passion for the job returned. He said, “most times we go through our career not realizing we truly helped anybody out. I wondered if I was even in the right career path.”

Officer Colvin, at that moment, knew without a doubt he had made the right career choice. He then learned that his choices led Klynn to make a unique career choice of her own!

Klynn’s Grown Up Job

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Klynn Scales/Facebook
Klynn Scales/Facebook

Inspired by her childhood hero, Klynn Scales revealed to Colvin that she applied to be a police recruit in Houston. His heroics had led her down her own path to become a police officer and work to make a positive impact on the lives of those around her.

The surprises didn’t end there. Scales had been dreaming of this reunion for twenty years. Not only was Colvin her childhood hero and career inspiration, he was like a surrogate father to her. With that, she had one more thing to tell him.

Klynn’s Tribute To Colvin

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Klynn Scales/Facebook
Klynn Scales/Facebook

As soon as Klynn learned the name of her hero, she had a bracelet made with the words, “Sgt. Jeff Colvin ‘A True Hero'” engraved on it. She said she got the bracelet to honor her hero and friend, reiterating she sees him as her “guardian angel.”

The story of Klynn and Colvin proves the positive power that police officers can have on communities and individuals. Klynn isn’t the only person who has ever had her life changed by an officer, something she found out when her story went viral.

Klynn’s Story Went Viral

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Klynn Scales/Facebook
Klynn Scales/Facebook

Knowing there are few things as powerful for police stations as community outreach, the Kansas City Missouri Police Department shared the story online. Her story went viral instantly, with many people inspired to share their own amazing stories about police officers.

Not surprisingly, several commentators shared their own stories about Sgt. Colvin and the amazing things he had done for them. As it turns out, Klynn’s life wasn’t the only one he saved after all his years on the streets. He was a true local Kansas City hero.

The Support Was Incredible

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Klynn Scales/Facebook
Klynn Scales/Facebook

In today’s world, police officers aren’t always treated with respect, and the overwhelming support Klynn and Colvin received was incredible. One comment read, “I have great respect for all police, though some deserve it more than others.”

In this case, no one deserves more respect than Jeff Colvin for the time and care he took in protecting Klynn during her time of need. And Klynn has now made it her life’s mission to pay it forward.

Klynn’s Future Is A Reflection Of Her Past

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Klynn Scales/Facebook
Klynn Scales/Facebook

Talking about her plans for the future, Klynn chooses to focus her attention on the past, “I hope one day I can become someone’s hero, or make a positive impact like you [Colvin] did mine.” With two kids of her own, Scales plans to start with them.

Then, with her new career, she plans to become an even bigger hero. Colvin’s heroics showed her there was light in the dark. Now she sees it as her job to “pay it forward” and show a new generation of lost souls that there is hope.

The Story Comes Full Circle

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Klynn Scales/Facebook
Klynn Scales/Facebook

The story of Sgt. Jeff Colvin and Klynn Scales is one of sadness turned into happiness. It stands as proof that there’s good in the world, and there are people committed to being good. This is important to remember, especially during tough times.

After graduating from the police academy, as of June 2018, Klynn is officially a police officer. Can you guess who was in the audience cheering her on? Jeff Colvin and his wife, along with Jennifer Jones all showed up to congratulate Klynn on her accomplishment.