A California bus driver was praised as a hero after he reportedly rescued a little boy from a kidnapper in a 2015 incident that went viral.
The 3-year-old boy was first reported missing from the Milpitas Public Library, about 45 minutes outside of San Francisco, in the morning. An hour later, bus driver Tim Watson spotted a boy on his bus who matched the description of the missing child. Watson said the boy had been crying.
"I saw his teary eye," Watson, a father of two, told ABC News.
He then devised a plan to get the boy away from the kidnapper.
"I started asking passengers about a missing green backpack," he recalled. "What I'm trying to do is get to the perpetrator."
Watson told KTVU that he decided not to alert passengers to the potential situation so as to avoid putting the child in danger, according to KTLA.
"What I pictured in my mind was all the parents in front of the cameras asking for their child to be brought back home," he said.
"I pull over and I hit the brake, and I said I’m looking for a green backpack and I wanted to go observe the young man and see if the description matched," he added.
There was no green backpack in sight, but he did notice the boy wearing red shoes — which matched the description police released.
Once he was confident he’d found the missing child, Watson called police. Officers met Watson at the bus station, and confronted 23-year-old David Edington as he exited. An officer then pried the boy from his arms.
Edington was arrested and charged with kidnapping.
VTA General Manager Nuria Fernandez released a statement following the terrifying incident.
"We are so proud of the entire team of law enforcement and transit employees for their professionalism and heroism that resulted in a young child being reunited with his family," the statement read, according to ABC News.
"Operator Watson was an integral part of that team effort, putting to perfect use the tools he was given in operator training combined with his innate composure and astuteness that resulted in a very happy ending."