Wisconsin woman ‘forever grateful’ to bus driver who helped save her son’s life

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- A Milwaukee County Transit System bus driver who on May 15 rescued a 6-year-old student she found wandering near a busy road met the student's mother Friday.

The MCTS driver, Cecelia Nation-Gardner, said she sprung into action when she saw the 6-year-old boy near a busy intersection at a time when he should have been in school. "I knew something was wrong because this child was running in the middle of the street," Nation-Gardner said. "That child could have been killed."

Nation-Gardner got the boy on the bus, radioed dispatch and waited for police to arrive. A short time later, the boy was reunited with his mother, Cassandra Garrett.

"I was so grateful for her," Garrett said. "I'm speechless because if it wasn't for her he wouldn't even been here."

While appreciative for the driver's quick action, Garrett is angry about how her child got in that situation in the first place. "He had told me that he had wandered off the playground," Garrett said. "I was like, 'Are you serious?! Where were the teachers?'"

On Friday, however, Garrett said she just wanted to celebrate the driver's heroic actions. "I will be forever grateful for her, to her, because she saved my baby," she said.

A spokesman for Milwaukee Public Schools sent the following statement on the incident:

"Milwaukee Public Schools is grateful the student from Mary McLeod Bethune Academy was found and returned safely to school.

On May 15, 2019, a 6-year-old student stepped away from his class line at the end of recess, did not enter the building with his class, and remained on the playground. While other classes were on the playground, the child left the school grounds.

The student was discovered by an MCTS bus driver, Cecilia Nation-Gardner, who took the child onto her bus and called police. The police returned the student to school and his parent was immediately contacted.

MPS is working with Bethune Academy to review policies and procedures. The school and the student’s mother have been working closely to determine the sequence of events. A revised plan has already been put in place to recheck students at specified points during the school day."


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