Harlan Jenifer, a bus driver from the Tacony neighborhood, was out at 3 a.m. driving his bus around Torresdale Avenue near Cottman when he noticed a little figure waiting at the bus stop. Annabelle, a 4-year-old small girl, was the one.
Harlan was out driving his SEPTA’s 56 bus on his regular route in the early hours of a rainy morning. A man waved the vehicle as he was about to pass a stop near the Tacony district and alerted him about a small child he observed waiting for the bus alone.
Little Annabelle was patiently waiting for the bus to stop so she could get it, dressed in her purple raincoat, pajamas, and boots.
The bus driver couldn’t believe what he was seeing. His passengers were similarly taken aback when they saw a small child alone and in the rain at the time.
‘You’ve got to be kidding!’ In an interview with Inside Edition, Harlan said, ‘At this hour, at 3 o’clock in the morning.’ ‘She’s a tiny little creature.» It kind of surprised me.’
It’s shocking to see a child around the age of a preschooler at 3 a.m. with no adult there. Harlan was taken aback, and then it dawned on him. He needed to do something to get the little girl back home securely.
Annabelle, it turned out, had walked 5 blocks in the rain before being discovered at the bus stop.
Harlan immediately dialed 911 to report the little child they had discovered. The passengers on the bus consoled Annabelle and checked to see whether she was okay.
As she sat with the other passengers, the small girl told them about her early morning errand.
‘All I want is a slushie,’ she said. Harlan cheerfully shared.
Annabelle was picked up by police officials and returned to her parents within an hour. They were stunned to learn that their little girl had gone out for a frozen treat so early in the morning.
Annabelle’s mother, Jaclyn Mager, was overjoyed to learn that her daughter had been found. She had no idea what would have occurred if things had gone wrong.
While her parents were overjoyed to see her, Annabelle appeared to be upset. After all, she couldn’t have her slushie! ‘Mom, could you please take me to Wawa so I can buy a slushie?’ Annabelle asked her mother a few days later in an interview with Action News.
Jaclyn reacted to her darling daughter’s request with love:
She said, ‘I’ll take you to Wawa and get you a slushie.’ ‘But listen, promise me you’ll wait for me next time, okay?’
Annabelle smiled, and the mom and daughter shared hugs. Annabelle’s father, Timothy Ridgeway, expressed worry and stated that it was not difficult to picture what could have occurred if those who found his daughter were not as compassionate as those who found her.
‘It’s difficult not to let my mind wander,’ Ridgeway added. ‘I’m grateful for the bus driver.’
The friendly bus driver was also appreciated by Jaclyn.
‘There are no words,’ she stated, ‘he saved my daughter’s life.’ ‘I will be eternally thankful.’