Driven to Help: COLTS Driver Finds Wandering Child

SCRANTON, Pa. -- A bus driver made a lucky find -- a 5-year-old boy who had wandered about a mile from home in the cold.

The driver for the County of Lackawanna Transit System (COLTS) saw something he'd never seen before on his early morning route through Scranton -- a young boy, by himself, who had wandered from his home.

That driver's action may very well have made sure this story has a happy ending.

Sean Tompkins could have been one of dozens of drivers to pass the boy on a busy street in west Scranton, but instead, Tompkins stopped.

Three times a week, Tompkins drives his COLTS van down South Main Avenue in Scranton before sunrise.

"It was very shocking, took me by surprise, you know?" Tompkins said.

It was dark and below freezing, around 5:30 a.m. when Tompkins pulled over to pick up the 5-year-old boy.

"(He had a) superhero costume on underneath his jacket."

But, otherwise, the boy wasn't dressed for the chilly weather and seemed confused about where his mom was.

Tompkins called Scranton police.

"We just sat there and talked and talked until the officers arrived."

Police say the boy had wandered about eight blocks from home. Luckily, he wandered onto Sean Tompkins' route with the COLTS ride-share van.

"I have children of my own, so I mean, to have a little boy out there in the cold. It just didn't make any sense to me. So, just did the right thing, hopefully, everybody else would have done the same thing," Tompkins said.

Police later found the boy's home, with the front door wide open. His parents didn't know the child was missing from their second-floor apartment.

Sean Tompkins is just happy he was in the right place at the right time.

"You just got to be vigilant, know what's going on around you, keep an eye on things," he added.

Scranton police say they were able to find the boy's home by tracking down a teacher at his school. After talking with his parents, officers say they do not plan to file any charges.

As for Tompkins, a good bus driver all around, he's preparing to represent COLTS at the National Public Transportation Rodeo later this year in Pittsburgh.

2 comments

  • Jackie Burczyk

    Yeah so I talk to my husband about it and he said that the reason why people don’t help is fear of getting in trouble or thought that they are the one who did something or it would look like they were abducting the child. Wow that is terrible that things are so bad that we would get in trouble just for helping. That is lame. But then again that is this area. Say one thing do a complete other thing.

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