Life
Bus driver is caught off guard when 4-year-old hops on bus at 3 AM
The tiny girl was all alone when she boarded the bus. Turns out, she was on a mission.
Caryl Jane Espiritu
04.11.22

Bus driver Harlan Jenifer was out at 3 am to drive his bus around Torresdale Avenue near Cottman in the Tacony neighborhood when he saw a tiny figure waiting at the bus stop. It was Annabelle, a 4-year-old little girl.

YouTube - Inside Edition
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YouTube - Inside Edition

It was the wee hours of a rainy morning and Harlan was out to drive his SEPTA’s 56 bus on his regular route. Just as he was about to pass a stop near the Tacony neighborhood, a man flagged the vehicle and told him about a little girl he saw, all alone waiting at the bus stop.

YouTube - Inside Edition
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YouTube - Inside Edition

Wearing her purple raincoat, pajamas, and her boots, little Annabelle was patiently waiting for the bus to stop so she could ride on it.

The bus driver could not believe his eyes. His passengers at the time were also flabbergasted to see a tiny kid all alone and in the rain at that moment.

YouTube - Inside Edition
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YouTube - Inside Edition

“Got to be kidding me! At this time, at 3 o’clock on the morning,” Harlan shared in an interview with Inside Edition. “She’s a small little thing. It kind of just shocked me.”

Seeing a child about the age of a preschooler at 3 am without any adult with her is definitely a shock. Harlan was quite surprised and then it hit him. He had to do something to bring the little girl safely back home.

YouTube - Inside Edition
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YouTube - Inside Edition

As it turned out, Annabelle even walked 5 blocks in the rain before she reached the bus stop where she was found.

YouTube - Inside Edition
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YouTube - Inside Edition

Harlan immediately called the police and informed them of the little girl they found. As Annabelle sat on the bus, the passengers comforted her and made sure she was okay.

As the little girl sat with the other passengers, she shared her mission that early morning.

“All I want is a slushie, that’s all she said!” Harlan fondly shared.

YouTube - Inside Edition
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YouTube - Inside Edition

Within an hour, police officers came to fetch Annabelle and bring her back to her parents. They were shocked to know that their little girl had wandered off that early morning for a frozen treat.

Jaclyn Mager, Annabelle’s mom, was very happy to know that kind people found her daughter. She could not imagine what would have happened if things turned bad.

YouTube - Inside Edition
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YouTube - Inside Edition

While her parents were happy to see her again, Annabelle seemed a little upset. She was not able to get her slushie after all!

“Mom, can you take me to Wawa and get me a slushie?” Annabelle asked her mother in an interview with Action News a few days later.

Jaclyn lovingly responded to her adorable daughter’s request:

“I will take you to Wawa and get you a slushie,” she said. “But listen, promise me next time you’ll wait for me, okay?”

YouTube - Inside Edition
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YouTube - Inside Edition

Annabelle agreed and mother and daughter hugged each other. Timothy Ridgeway, Annabelle’s father, was quite concerned and said that it was not too hard to imagine what could have happened if people who found his daughter were not as kind as the ones who did find her.

“My mind is wanting to go places, it’s hard not to,” said Ridgeway. “Thank God for the bus driver.”

Jaclyn was also very thankful for the kind bus driver.

“There are no words, he saved my daughter’s life,” she said. “I’ll be forever grateful.”

YouTube - Inside Edition
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YouTube - Inside Edition

There are still a lot of good people in this world. Find out more about this incredible story by watching the video below!

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By Caryl Jane Espiritu
hi@sbly.com
Caryl Jane Espiritu is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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