VIDEO: Bus driver rescues toddler from traffic

PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) -- Smiling, but very humble, Tri-Met bus driver Bill Clark talked about the day he rescued a Gresham toddler from wandering into traffic.

Clark on Thursday looked at the surveillance video from his bus for the first time. It shows everyone calling him a hero.

The video is adorable but also shows just how close the 2-year-old named James came to a tragic situation.


The boy was able to get out of his parents' Northeast Linden Avenue apartment on Friday morning, May 23, while his dad was sleeping and mom was away, according to police.

James wandered toward the very busy Northeast Division Street and the bus driver suddenly spotted him. Clark was quick to act.

"No, I'm no hero," Clark said after watching the newly released Tri-Met surveillance video. "I'm just an old guy that likes kids."

Clark has been driving a bus in one form or another for 15 years. But what he saw last Friday on his Gresham route was a first.


On the video above, you can see the bus driving down Northeast Division Street around 8 a.m. and all of a sudden, the boy appears, alone and running toward the bus.

"When I got out of the bus, I saw that he was barefoot, with a diaper on and he had on a little T-shirt," Clark said.

Before James got any further into traffic, Clark quickly pulled the bus over. You can see the boy running up to Clark but won't tell him his name or where he lives. Clark felt the only safe alternative was to bring the boy on board and call police.

Turns out, little James rides the bus regularly with his family and on the video, you can see he knows exactly how to go sit down. Clark drove to the Gresham Transit Station and along with police, watched over the boy until child services could come.


Gresham police tracked down the boy's parents two hours later. Clark knows he did the right thing, but said it's not because he is a hero, he was just doing what anyone else should have done.

"Had I been 30 seconds later, I believe he would have been right out in the middle of Division Street," Clark said. "I guess God put me in the right place at the right time."

James' parents were interviewed by child services but weren't charged. Clark said he hopes they put some better locks on their doors.


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