Little Boy Lost By School, Found In Arverne
An Arverne man helped a lost young boy find his parents last Tuesday when a school bus mistakenly dropped him off at Ocean Village, blocks from the day care center to which he was supposed to be taken.
Robert Bailey was standing outside his Arverne home on Beach 61 Street at about 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon when he saw a young boy walking alone on Rockaway Beach Boulevard. Bailey thought that it was strange for one so young to be unaccompanied on the busy street. “I could tell that something was wrong,” Bailey told The Wave. “I knew that the kid shouldn’t have been on the street alone.”
Although Andre could not tell Bailey and his neighbors either his telephone number or address, other residents found his mother’s telephone number in the book bag he was carrying. A woman called the boy’s mother, who contacted his father, TJ Perra, who rushed to the scene.
When police arrived, Perra was already there with his son. He told police that he had gone to the Beach 64 Street day care center to which his son was to be taken and found that he never arrived. The bus driver who takes the children from PS 42 to the day care center told the father that his son never got on the bus that day.
When he then rushed to PS 42, he told The Wave, he was told by an assistant principal that Andre had been put on the Ocean Village bus by mistake and that the bus driver “would bring him back to the school.”
While Perra was arguing with the assistant principal, he says, he got the call from his wife that the child had been found on Beach 61 Street and he left the school to go to the scene. After speaking with his son, Perra told The Wave that Andre had seen all of the other kids getting off the bus at Ocean Village at Beach 57 Street and decided that he should get off as well.
He wandered around, looking for his day care center and was found a few blocks away by Bailey and his friends.
“I just wanted to make sure that the child was reunited with his parents,” Bailey, who has no kids of his own, said. “It was obvious that he was in trouble.”
Perras is glad that his child is safe and is reluctant to blame the school for the incident, especially in the first full week of school when school bus drivers do not yet know their young charges.
"Everybody helped," he said, thanking those who stopped his son and called police. "Black, white, doesn't matter. Everybody helped."
A spokesperson for the Department of Education told The Wave that she had spoken with Principal Riva Madden and that Madden spoke to the parents and insured them that procedures have been put in place to insure that such an incident could never happen again.