As temperatures dipped to just 18 degrees in Wisconsin this week, a bus driver may have very well saved the lives of two siblings who were out in the cold.
When she spotted them on her route in Waukesha on Monday morning, Nicole Chamberlain, says that she did what she hoped any person would do in this situation: She brought them onto the bus to keep them warm.
Chamberlain, who has been working as a bus driver for the Waukesha Metro Transit for one year, was driving her route but quickly put her bus into park when she spotted a 6-year-old boy and his 2-year-old sister walking through the snow — both without coats, and one barely dressed.
“As I was driving I saw two little kids walking down the sidewalk neither wearing a coat. The little girl was only wearing a T-shirt and a diaper,” Chamberlain tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
She reacted quickly after pulling over, exiting the bus, picking up the 2-year-old and bringing both children onto the bus for warmth. Then she cranked the heat and took off her own jacket in order to warm the legs of the little girl.
“Seeing what they were wearing, I knew I had to get them on the warm bus,” Chamberlain says.
The children informed the driver that they were looking for their grandmother, and Chamberlain, who had previously worked in law enforcement, immediately phoned the police for help. It turned out that the children's grandmother was watching them and, when she went down to the basement for a moment, the 6-year-old went outside to look for her as his little sister followed.
"After calling the police I spent the time just reassuring the kids that everything would be okay," Chamberlain says. "The kids were very scared and cold."
“The grandmother arrived before police but, because I didn't know the circumstances yet, dispatch told me not to open the bus doors until police arrived,” Chamberlain says. “I spoke with the grandmother through the doors and assured her the kids were okay as we waited for the police to arrive.”
After police arrived, the children were released to the grandmother. The Waukesha Police Department confirms to Yahoo Lifestyle that the incident “did not rise to the level of criminality.”
Chamberlain is thankful that her bus route crossed the children's path. As a mother of two adopted 14-year-old children, she and her husband of 17 years hope that if their children were in a similar situation, someone else would stop to help.
“We are grateful the bus driver stopped the bus and ensured the safety of these two kids and that we were able to reunite the family in very short order,” Capt. Dan Baumann says.
Finally, Chamberlain tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I am receiving employee of the month. They have expressed their appreciation and told me how proud of me they are. I work with some great people.”
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