PHILADELPHIA, PA - A four-year-old hopped a bus in the middle of the night to get a frozen treat.
Thanks to strangers, she's back home safe.
John Rawlins reports.
(Timothy Ridgeway, Father) "My mind's wanting to go places... What if, what if, what if?"
(Jaclyn Mager, Mother) "Yeah, you'll drive yourself crazy like that, with all the what-ifs"
(Timothy Ridgeway, Father) "...but thank God for that bus driver, thank God for the bus driver stopping."
(Jaclyn Mager, Mother) "and the people on the bus."
Two very grateful parents coming to grips with their four-year-old daughter's overnight adventure. 2:58am: driver Harlan Jenifer behind the wheel of SEPTA's 56 bus is flagged down. A man says there is a little girl out alone. Moments later, in a purple coat and snow boots, in pops a 38-inch tall strawberry blonde.
(Harlan Jenifer, Bus Driver) "I was like whoa, you've got to be kidding me! Not this time of night. 3:00 in the morning, a little girl? She's a small little thing. Kind of just shocked me."
As Jenifer calls the authorities, passengers comfort the tiny visitor, who at this point sort of shrugs, and tells them what her mission is a 3am.
(Harlan Jenifer, Bus Driver) "She had her mind set, because I knew what she wanted. "All I want is a Slushie." That's all she said."
Police arrived, but not before the youngest rider checked out the bus. Within an hour, Annabelle - that's her name - was home safe and sound with her shocked mom and dad. Today, they say they reconfigured their home's locks. As for slushies, mom says they are a favorite for sweet, loving and obviously-independent Annabelle.
Mommy, will you take me [unintelligible] and buy a Slushie?
(Jaclyn Mager, Mother)I will take you to [unintelligible] and buy a Slushie, but listen, promise me next time you'll wait for me, okay?
Mom - Jaclyn - says this will be Annabelle’s first and last such solo travel. She repeatedly thanked all those who helped bring her home safely.
(Jaclyn Mager, Mother) There's no words. He saved my daughter's life. I'll be forever grateful.