The Alameda-Contra Costa Transit board of directors at its meeting Wednesday evening will honor a bus driver who helped reunite a missing 7-year-old autistic boy with his family.
On the morning of April 30, the boy, Danny Eichberg, had traveled several miles from his family's home in Piedmont, heading to Lake Merritt in Oakland on his scooter, AC Transit officials said.
At about 9:30 a.m. that day, bus driver Ari Megaro was traveling on Grand Avenue near Harrison Street, not far from the lake, when he saw a small boy, who appeared to be alone, on a foot-powered scooter riding on the sidewalk alongside his Line 12 bus, according to AC Transit officials.
After being alerted by passengers, Megaro brought his bus to a safe stop then, using a calm demeanor, engaged the boy in conversation about their mutual love for skateboards, AC Transit officials said.
Danny's parents, who had notified police of his disappearance, had taught him how to spell his parents' names and his full address. That information was important to Alameda County sheriff's deputies, who then searched for the Eichbergs on Facebook.
After locating Danny's mother's Facebook page, deputies showed her profile picture to the 7 year-old boy and were able to make a positive identification and reunite him with his family.
"We are incredibly grateful to the AC Transit passengers for noticing our son and sharing their concerns with the operator and to Mr. Megaro for taking the initiative to intervene and ensure his safety," Michael Eichberg, Danny's father, said in a statement.
AC Transit board president H. E. Christian Peeples said, "I am immensely proud of the fact that the AC Transit family, and in particular one of our operators, was able to return a child to his family."
Wednesday's meeting was scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. at AC Transit's board room at 1600 Franklin St. in Oakland.