Young S'porean family helps teen with autism find parents after taking wrong bus & losing way


Julia Yeo | April 03, 2021, 05:09 PM

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Learning to take public transport by oneself is an important rite of passage for many children in Singapore.

For children with special needs, parents may put in extra effort into helping their children learn how to be independent, for example, tagging along secretly during their attempts at taking public transport by themselves.

Excursion gone wrong

The same goes for Facebook user Bob Lee, a father of a teen with autism. However, he shared in a Facebook post on Apr. 2 that his attempt the day before had gone awry.

"As usual, yesterday's plan was to board the bus one stop earlier, and hide at the back of the bus, to wait for Jun Le to board the bus," he recounted.

Realised that son boarded wrong bus

Lee shared that they agreed to take bus 183, but due to some miscommunication, he realised that his son had boarded bus 188 instead, which had already gone past while he was waiting at the previous bus stop.

In panic, Lee and his wife hopped onto their bicycle and car to chase after the bus.

"I'm looking for my son, he has autism!" He recalled his wife asking the bus captain as she caught up with the bus.

"The boy who talks to himself? He alighted at the polyclinic," the bus captain replied.

Found by another family

When he arrived at the bus stop directed to by the bus captain, his son was nowhere to be found, Lee recounted.

As he panicked, he began shouting his son's name as he searched for him.

At this moment, a Malay father with a child in tow approached him.

"Are you looking for your son? My wife brought him to (the) police station. Don't worry, my son's also ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), we will help you," the man assured Lee, according Lee's post.

Afterwards, the man's wife brought the young teen over, reuniting his family.

"I'm so grateful that (my son) has met a kind Samaritan," he wrote.

Became friends after encounter

In another post shared by Aidil Ismail, whose wife helped to find Lee's son, shared that the two families have become friends after the encounter.

Aidil's wife, who found Lee shared that she had noticed him walking around, calling out "mummy, mummy, where's mummy", while she was crossing a road junction.

Following from behind, she realised that he was distressed, and reached out to help him.

"He was so good in calming himself by asking me to count backwards with him! Brave boy," she praised Lee's son.

It takes a village to raise a child, wrote Lee in his post.

When Mothership reached out to Lee, he shared that they would not have found Jun Le so quickly, if not for Aidil and his family.

"We really need more people like them who can help look out for our special needs children. Their act of kindness can be a very good example to the public on how a small act can go such a long way in keeping our special needs children safe," Lee said.

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Top image via Bob Lee/Facebook