A 4-year-old Pennsylvania girl, Annabelle, snuck out of her house in the middle of the night in search of a sugary soft drink. Wrapped in a purple raincoat, the little blonde walked to the bus station all by herself and boarded a Philadelphia public bus in early hours of Friday morning, surprising the handful of passengers and the bus driver, Harlan Jenifer.
Luckily, what could have been an unfortunate story took a turn for better when the bus driver – who is also a father of three – questioned Annabelle, called his control center and pulled over at the side of the road while awaiting the authorities.
The surveillance footage showed the girl acting cheerful and dangling her boots off of her seats, while confused bus riders looked her way, according to Reuters.
“She told bus riders that she wanted to get a slushie,” said Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority spokeswoman Kristin Geiger. He described the bus driver Jenifer as an exemplary employee.
Once the cops showed up, the 4-year-old was taken to a nearby hospital where she was reunited with her parents, who had no idea that their daughter had snuck out of the house until the police called them. The pair was “surprised and shocked” by the events, and expressed their gratitude toward the bus driver.
Annabelle’s mother exclaimed “there are no words” for Jenifer who “saved my daughter’s life.” She also vowed to buy her daughter the slushie she was asking for.
Meanwhile, her dad Timothy Ridgeway knows the whole thing could have turned out badly.
“My mind is wanting to go places, it’s hard not to,” he said. “Thank God for the bus driver.”