There's just something special about transit drivers in Milwaukee - because for the ninth time in recent years, according to a Milwaukee County Transit System official, an alert driver has found or rescued a missing child.
The latest case out of the city made headlines this past week when a dramatic security video aboard the bus captured the moment driver Irina Ivic saw a young toddler wandering barefoot, alone and barely dressed on an overpass on the city's south side.
At around 8 a.m. on December 22, Ivic - who has been working for the Milwaukee County Transit System for five years - was driving her route when she spotted the child walking dangerously close to a busy street. The video shows her immediately stopping the bus, jumping out and grabbing the child and bringing her back into the bus.
"Oh my God, I'm shaking," Ivic is heard exclaiming in the video as she boards the bus and sits down with the baby in her arms. A passenger can be seen coming up to the front with her coat to wrap around the little girl.
Emergency personnel were quickly on the scene to assess the infant, who was miraculously unharmed. Upon contacting the girl's father, Hasan Ali Abdul Kasim, they were informed that the child was left outside by the mother who suffers from mental illness. Apparently, she had taken her to church across the freeway and forgotten about her.
When asked about her experience, Ivic, a former teacher who immigrated to Milwaukee 12 years ago from Serbia, said it was her love for children and the fact that she has children of her own that caused her to not think twice about jumping out and helping to bring the little girl to safety. She added that she was simply grateful she was in the right place at the right time.
Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, however, believes that it's more than just being in the right place at the right time. He believes that Ivic's quick thinking and compassion is something that should absolutely be recognized.
"That's the sort of human impulse we should be celebrating and encouraging," he said during a ceremony to thank Ivic for bringing the girl to safety and helping to reunite her with her family.
"She did a lot more than her job. She did the right thing," he added. "I don't take that kind of compassion for granted."