TARPS operator and trainer Ann Gleason of Oregon found a lost 3-year-old boy while on a route near Birmingham Terrace at about 7 a.m. Friday, and brought him onto the bus until the police arrived.
THE BLADE/JEFFREY SMITH
A toddler stood on a Toledo sidewalk, shivering, barefoot, and alone.
When Ann Gleason, 44, steered her bus near 2100 Consaul St. on Friday morning, she found the 3-year-old wandering by himself, dressed only in oversized shorts and hugging a pair of Nike shoes.
“His feet were like ice,” Ms. Gleason said. “He could have been outside for a while.”
As she waited for police to arrive, Ms. Gleason took the toddler onto the Toledo Area Paratransit Service bus she was navigating, which was carrying two passengers and two trainees.
Ms. Gleason isn’t the first good Samaritan to hail from the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority, the public transportation agency that operates the paratransit service.
In March, bus driver Geraldine Mitchell saved the life of a Toledo woman who attempted to hang herself in the 500 block of West Delaware Avenue. Ms. Mitchell stopped the bus and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Ms. Gleason had been a TARPS bus driver for two and a half years.
Before her job with the transit authority, she was a stay-at-home mother who took care of four boys: Daniel, 22, Andrew, 21, Brandon, 17, and Timothy, 8.
“I had tears in my eyes because I’m a mother,” Ms. Gleason said. “It was just heartbreaking to see him on the side of the street. I was waiting for someone to come running out of the door looking for him, but nobody did.”
Two officers arrived on the scene shortly after Ms. Gleason said she spotted the child about 7 a.m.
The boy, who had been wary of Ms. Gleason but told her his nickname was “Boogie,” directed the officers to his home in the nearby Birmingham Terrace apartment complex.
Neither the identity of the boy nor his mother have been made public.
Police Sgt. Joe Heffernan said the responding officers did not write a report.
Lucas County Children Services was not aware of the incident until an inquiry from The Blade, spokesman Julie Malkin said.
Ms. Gleason said police told her that the boy’s mother had recently given birth to a baby. The mother also told the officers she was tired and thought she had locked the door, Ms. Gleason added.
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