NORFOLK, Va. - On July 17, Kelvin White, a bus operator with Hampton Roads Transit, encountered a scenario he never thought he’d encounter – a child all alone and in the middle of traffic.
"I was on the inbound 20, heading into Downtown Norfolk, heading down Brambleton Avenue towards the Martin Luther King monument,” White said. “I saw a little girl wandering the street."
The incident happened just west of the monument. Seeing the girl in harm’s way, he stopped his bus and got off to help her.
"That’s the first time I had a child that I’ve had to pull out of the street,” White said. “She was walking with a stroller, with a stuffed animal in it, and she appeared to be maybe about 2 or 3 years old."
He added the girl was walking on the street in the opposite direction of the traffic. He said he used his vest to flag traffic away from the scene.
“By the time I reached her, I was able to get her off from the street,” He said. “Me and another unidentified man went door to door in the neighborhood trying to find maybe the mother or somebody who may know the child."
Those attempts were unsuccessful, according to White. He then took the girl back onto the bus until police arrived.
Soon after, White said the mother was located and was reunited with the girl.
“It was hard seeing a girl pushing a stroller in the middle of traffic, unattended, no adults in the presence,” White said. “It was frightening because I’m a father, and I wouldn’t want to find my child out there in about situation."
On Tuesday when News 3 spoke to White, he was assigned to drive on Route 18. He was accompanied by Alex Brink, his supervisor and HRT manager of bus operations.
“I was very grateful for the actions that he took,” Brink said. “It was definitely nothing that we would necessarily expect an operator to do - put themselves in harm's way to do something like that."
Brink said he is proud that White went above and beyond his job description and is appreciative to have White as one of their bus operators. As recognition, Brink said HRT gifted White a pair of Beats headphones.
"I’m hoping it never happens again, but I’m just glad the little girl is safe,” White said.