August 16, 2011

MetroBus Operator Helped Rescue Lost 4-Year-Old Boy

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When you meet Marshanette Densmore, it does not take very long to see that she is a very caring woman.  When I met the MetroBus operator from East St. Louis, she pulled up a chair and listened attentively, eyes warm and smiling. She shared her story with lot of care and humility. It is no wonder that last month, Densmore came to the rescue of a scared, lost young boy she saw while driving her bus. 

On the evening of Saturday, July 2, Densmore was on her run for the #9 in Washington Park on Forest Street. As she traveled down the road, she saw something in her rear view mirror.  She was surprised to see a young boy, 3 or 4 years old, running toward her bus, and he was alone. Densmore quickly pulled over.

 “This was a very quiet part of the street with a lot of trees, a big creek and no children nearby. I had to make sure this little boy was alright,,” she said. She asked him what his name was and who he was with. His said his name was Cameron,  he was 4 years old, and his mother was “in the new house.” Densmore scanned the area, and didn’t see anyone around. She then radioed dispatch and had them call the East St. Louis Police Department. She told the police he might live near the newer homes on 49th and Waverly, not too far from where she noticed him.

Officer Hill of the East St. Louis Police Department responded to the call. At first, Cameron was scared, but Densmore calmed him down, and told him the police were there to help.  Hill took the young boy to find his mother, and Densmore resumed her route. When she reached Emerson Park, Hill and her supervisor from Metro Transit were there to greet her and give her the good news: they had reunited Cameron with his family.

“I got really emotional, you know?” she said. “I was just really glad that he was safe.” Densmore found out that Cameron’s family was from Chicago and visiting relatives when Cameron wandered off. On her next run, she drove past the home where Cameron was staying for the holiday weekend, and was thrilled when he came running and waving at the bus. “I just wanted to make sure that he was OK,” she smiled.

Densmore is one of many Metro Transit bus operators and employees who go above and beyond the call of duty because they care about the communities they live and work in.

Metro Lifestyle

6 thoughts on “MetroBus Operator Helped Rescue Lost 4-Year-Old Boy”

  1. Anjana says:

    There is a real sense of community when you travel by bus. Even three times on the same route and people recognize you, especially during commute times. St. Louisans care about each other. It’s a small enough city that we expect to know people and we feel connected to each other. It does not have the anonymity of Boston or the individualism of New York.

    I used to travel regularly on Route 91 on Olive and people would notice when my jaw was swollen from the dentist visit the previous day, or when I looked more harried than usual on the way home. A young man got on once who wasn’t a regular rider, and got up to ask the driver something. Within a couple of minutes the entire bus was figuring out where he needed to go and the best way to get there, and also telling him the timings of the bus for his ride back. The buses often have a pleasant camraderie – strangers we know.

    It may be that public transit itself encourages a mode of interaction that spurs more empathy.

  2. dkh2 says:

    It’s nice to hear about Metro’s many dedicated drivers, but I wish I could say that for every Metro operator!

  3. Julie says:

    Anjana, I wish our bus was like that. The only time there was ever a sense of community on 33 was when some jerk got on the bus when we were leaving Rock Road station and he wanted to get off right at the stop by the station and got mad at the bus driver when she didn’t stop til we were actually further down the road (at a point more justifiable for a 1st stop for 33). He yelled at her and everyone on the bus called him a lazy idiot for getting on the bus just because he didn’t want to walk from the station (which is in walking distance).

  4. Barbara says:

    Beautiful story. It brought tears to my eyes. It always warms my heart to know that there are still caring people in the world. Just think we have them here at Metro. Kudos to Ms. Densmore.

  5. Patrick Richmond says:

    This is really good. As much as I am a believer in God, Marshanette has won her ticket to heaven. She did the right thing. Reaching out to others. When you get caring drivers that drive each route, THIS is what makes people want to ride rather than drive. That route she drives serves many strip clubs. We really have some drivers that are kind. When we get many caring employees all over the system, ridership skyrockets. Children will wander off. That’s kids. But a kind driver that sees things like this and helps rescues them, the children always feel safe.

  6. Stacy Fenroy says:


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