Feb. 6 seemed like a normal day for Ny’ja Davis, a Bullard High School student. But everything quickly changed after she arrived at a Fresno Area Express bus stop in Fresno. Thankfully, a local bus driver showed up just at the right time to save the day.
Just before 8 a.m., as Davis arrived at the bus stop, she noticed a man she had never seen before. As he stared at her, she said, she knew something was up.
“He was acting weird,” she explained.
Acting protectively, Davis then walked closer to the curb where she stood. But as she put her headphones in, she felt the man grabbing her by her backpack straps.
“He started pulling on me, yanking on me and grabbing on me,” Davis said. “I started screaming for somebody to help me, but nobody came.”
That’s when Socorro Pelayo, 65, a local bus driver, pulled up.
As the man hit on the girl’s butt and legs, she ran inside. Pelayo then quickly closed the doors. Once inside, the bus driver was able to console the girl and call the police.
“She was crying and scared. I said, ‘Hold on, the police are coming.’ I told her to just calm down and that she was OK,” Pelayo said. “He wasn’t getting on my bus.”
The man, Julian Medina, 29, was later arrested and charged with alleged felony sexual battery as well as molestation of a child.
According to Fresno police, Medina later confessed that he was planning on raping the girl.
After the ordeal, the girl’s mother was more than thankful to Pelayo.
“[Davis] called me, and I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, I can’t get there where my baby is.’ I was real upset, crying on the phone … but she took care of her,” Lakayla Green said about Pelayo. “We appreciate her, and I thank God for her.”
Pelayo, who’s been a bus driver for more than 30 years, said that her relationship with God is what saved Davis.
#Fresno City Council president @Esmeralda_Soria praises FAX bus driver Socorro Pelayo for her actions to rescue a child from sexual assault, cites story by @MackenzieMays in today's @FresnoBee (https://t.co/qZapeVnBRK)— Tim Sheehan (@TimSheehanNews) February 15, 2018
Every morning before taking off, she said, “I touch every seat and say, ‘God cover all these people and help them. Bless them.’ I tell God, ‘You drive this bus. I’m not driving this bus.’”
After such a selfless act, Fresno Unified is planning on recognizing the bus driver "for her heroism.”
“People like Ms. Socorro make our city a home for so many of our children,” School Board President Elizabeth Jonasson Rosas said.
We’re grateful that there are people like Pelayo out there, always ready to act fast in order to come to the aid of someone in need. Whether they believe God is the driving force behind their acts of heroism or not.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Pexels, Burak Kebapci