Four-year-old Jasir Allen from Kalamazoo, Michigan, normally bids farewell to his father Jeffery at 8:30 a.m. as he boards the bus for Pre K International Childcare Center. But on March 22, his family believe he never made it inside the building.
An woman, who remains unnamed, spotted Jasir wandering alone on Kalamazoo’s East Main Street around 11 a.m., and alarm bells rang. She turned her car around to investigate.
“I got a 4-year-old, and I said, ‘Let me stop and ask him some questions,’” the woman told CBS, adding that “the poor little boy was just lost.”
Jasir had strayed half a mile from his daycare. “He didn’t want to get in the car, but I had to tell him, ‘I won’t hurt you,’” his rescuer recalled. “I wouldn’t feel right if I just rode past him like everyone else did.”
Jasir eventually gave in and clung to his rescuer. She notified police, who quickly arranged to have him brought to his grandmother Stephanie Allen’s house. Stephanie called her daughter—Jasir’s mom—Evelese Dean, who was sleeping after a work shift.
“It’s not something you want to wake up to, that your son was alone, trying to cross a busy street in the morning,” Evelese told MLive. “I’m grateful for the people who found him … there’s a possibility I never could have seen him again.
“The Kalamazoo River is on that side of town. He could have wandered off that way. He tried to walk into the road. He could have been hit by a car … I still can’t stop thinking about the what-ifs.”
The hours between Jasir’s bidding farewell to his father and his being found remain unaccounted for.
The boy claims he stepped off a green bus, and the bus driver “left and never came back.” His grandmother believes her grandson’s account, suspecting he fell asleep on the bus and never checked in to daycare.
After her son’s safe return, Evelese drove to Pre K International to speak to staffers, and claims they assured her Jasir was in his classroom.
The daycare center has since suspended bus routes, pending investigation by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. In the meantime, Evelese has pulled her son out of daycare for the remainder of the school year.
“The right people stepped in,” she reflected, “and the right people found my son and made sure he got home to me.”