It was anywhere between 22 and 31 degrees on a chilly Milwaukee, Wisconsin, night when bus driver Denise Wilson pulled over for a short midnight break in January.

“It’s after midnight, so I’m just like, am I really seeing what I’m seeing?” she recounted. She was seeing a 5-year-old boy crying outside. The boy was alone, without shoes and was wearing clothes unfit for winter.

“He came out of nowhere, out of nowhere. I just happened to look over and heard him crying, and he was just running up Center [Street],” she said.

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The Milwaukee County Transit System shared a surveillance video of Wilson helping the child into the bus and covering him in her coat and giving him some food. She could be heard asking if he was okay and if he was still cold from being outside.

Wilson sat with him until the police came.

He was eventually returned to his parents. Authorities determined that he “left the house by mistake.”

There was no question in Wilson’s mind that God allowed her to be in the right place at the right time. “I’m happy I made that stop,” she said. “You know, I always say God puts us in places, you know, where he needs us at times.”

And she knew in that moment that it was time to act:

I’m a child of God, and a lot of times we try to do what’s right when we see something happening, and if we’re there to help and have the ability or means to do it, that’s what we’re supposed to do, so I don’t look at it as being a hero just being there to help.

Wilson said that she wasn’t being a hero, she was “just being there to help.”

A Milwaukee bus driver knew what she needed to do when she saw a little boy crying with no shoes in the winter ABC screenshot
Zuri Davis About the author:
Zuri Davis is a media writer for Rare. Follow her on Twitter @RiEleDavis.
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