An alert bus driver who helped rescue a 3-year-old who had just been kidnapped from the Milpitas library earlier this month was honored Friday for his actions.
Tim Watson, a Fremont resident, has been called a hero for the way he calmly thwarted the kidnapping once he realized a boy on his bus matched the description from an alert about the child. He calmly delivered the boy to police without tipping off the kidnapper.
Watson was recognized in a ceremony by Santa Clara County and Valley Transportation Authority officials. The 48-year-old bus driver was also flown into the San Jose Giants stadium Friday night by a county sheriff's helicopter to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
"Bus operator Tim Watson was such an integral part of the team effort," VTA General Manager and CEO Nuria Fernandez said.
Watson was driving his bus toward the Fremont bus station on June 5 when he got an alert from dispatch: Be on the lookout for a 3-year-old boy with plaid shorts and red shoes, the very description of a boy who was crying and seated with a man in the backseat of his bus.
The boy's mother had reported him missing from the library in Milpitas, which is located about 45 miles southeast of San Francisco.
Watson was told to make his way to the Fremont BART station where police would be waiting, a 10-minute drive. Watson stayed calm.
Once at the BART station, Watson waited for police to get in position then opened the door. Police arrested the suspected kidnapper, 23-year-old Alfonso David Edington, of Pittsburg, and took the boy to safety.
Watson credits the training he received for foiling the kidnapping attempt about an hour after it was reported.
The training provided by Santa Clara County helps people recognize the red flags when a person has been kidnapped or held against their will.
Watson was one of 750 county bus drivers who took the training in April.
"We just had a human trafficking training in April," Watson said. "It does help us to react in these situations."
VTA on Friday also recognized other workers and emergency responders who played a role in foiling the kidnapping.
"We can see now the value of that training in a real-life heroic instance," Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Dave Cortese said.
Watson's actions does not come as a surprise to his family.
"If you know him it's just part of his nature to be this way," said his wife, Jennifer Watson. "He's the type to run into the trouble whereas somebody else might run away from it."
Watson at the time of his heroic actions had only been on the job for six months and was on probation. He was made a full-time staff member on Friday by the VTA as part of the ceremony.