ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — David Bergstrom was driving on St. Paul Avenue Tuesday morning when he spotted a little boy crouched on top of a garbage truck.
“Instantly, I did the double take, and could see it was a child up there,” he said. “And I couldn’t believe I’d seen him up there, I mean this was a really tall truck. At first, I thought it might have been an employee, you know how they ride one on the back sometimes? But then instantly, I saw it was a kid, and I knew that something was wrong.”
Bergstrom said instincts took over from there. Without thinking twice, he followed the driver for a block in his Toyota Corolla, flagging him to pull over.
St. Paul police say the 7-year-old boy had ran away from school in St. Paul around 10:15 a.m. Tuesday.
It was less than an hour later, around 11 a.m., when Bergstrom spotted the boy near Edgecumbe Road and St. Paul Avenue.
He says he noticed the boy wasn’t wearing a jacket — only a short sleeve shirt and pants.
“He was holding onto some kind of metal I think, and his hands were bright red, and he looked pretty cold,” Bergstrom said.
Nearby neighbors called police to pick the boy up and return him to his family. Had the truck gone to pick up a load, Bergstrom says, the boy could’ve seriously gotten hurt.
“I’m glad I was able to help him out and make the family’s holidays maybe a little better without having a loss or an injury in the family,” Bergstrom said.
St. Paul police credit the alert driver for doing the right thing, and paying attention to what was happening around him.
When the boy went missing, Project Lifesaver had been initiated, police say, and a state patrol helicopter had been searching as the boy had a tracking band on him.
Police say they were just about to use the device when he was found.