Saturday, October 23, 2010
Queens Bus Driver William Allan Rescues Two-year-old Boy and his Infant Brother at 4 a.m by Tom Namako, Jennifer Bain, and Jamie Schram - NY Post
An eagle-eyed Queens bus driver rescued a two-year-old boy when he spotted him shivering on the street at 4:00 a.m. wearing only underwear – and now police are searching for the apparent absentee mother and the child is in the city’s care.
Veteran bus operator William Allan, himself a father of two, stumbled upon the heartbreaking scene on Wednesday morning as he was starting his Q55 bus route.
Turning the corner on to 60th St. and Putnam Ave. in Ridgewood, he saw young Thomas Baginski, alone, confused, and scared as cars whizzed just feet away.
Allan said the sight shook him to the core.
"I pulled the bus over and got out - he reached his arms up to me, he wanted me to pick him up," he said. "He couldn’t even really move he was just so frozen cold."
As he held the boy, Allan called 911 and brought him on the bus. He shut the door and cranked up the heat, hoping to stave off any signs of hypothermia.
"He was sitting in the seat by the front door. The elevated train went by and he said ‘choo choo.’" Allan recalled.
"That’s the only thing he said – it touched me – I’ll always think of him now when I hear the train," he said.
The boy was so small, Allan said, he could have been hurt or abducted with little notice while on the streets alone.
"If he walked between cars, no one would see him," he said. "I won’t want to think about what would have happened."
Police arrived and scoured the area for open apartment building doors. They found one about a block away, and inside, the found an open apartment door.
Inside the room another young boy, Anthony Baginski, 1, was sleeping in a crib.
There were no adults around.
Police began walking up neighbors, trying to find a parent. One person called father Piotr Baginski, 33.
Baginski arrived 20 minutes later and told police that the children’s mother, Zuzanna, 24, told him just four hours before that she was with the children in the apartment, though she was apparently gone.
Police now have a warrant for the mother and are looking for her, and the kids are in the custody of the city’s Administration for Children’s Services.
Neighbors said the behavior at the apartment wasn’t new.
"Those kids are always running around outside naked," said Chhatwal Kishore, 34, who lives nearby.
"One time the boys were alone naked on the porch. The little one was about to fall off and I caught him," he said.
Other neighbors admitted they should have called police on the family, but, as Kishore said, "you don’t want to mess with someone’s kids."
"Thank God the bus driver found him," said Luz Chacon, who lives in the same apartment as Kishore.
Allan’s friends at the nearby Fresh Pond bus depot are calling him a hero.
"I may have prevented a tragedy," he said. "But I was just doing by job and using my observational skills. What made me look? I was trained to look in every direction."
Allan said he’s looking forward to seeing "the outcome of this."