Miami bus driver rescues family after car plunges into canal

Posted at 10:17 AM, Feb 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-22 10:19:47-05

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla.-- Elijah Saleem has been driving since 2011 and he's seen a lot over the past eight years. But earlier this week his routine ride took a troubling turn.

"Nothing compares to that. I notice the car slammed into a canal," he recalled.

That's right, a car going into a canal late Monday night. Saleem was heading north on Northwest 27 Avenue when a car went off the road into the water at 155 Street.

He stopped his bus called for help and when he got closer, a man in the sinking car called for help. "He said take my son."

Saleem waded into the water as the man in his 20s struggled to get his 1-year-old son to safety. "He just tossed me his son. So I grabbed his son and then I said, 'I'm gonna help you. Come get out now,' because he was like you know we can't swim."

"Once that 1-year-old was safe Saleem went back into the water to help free the trapped father and his girlfriend. He got them both out before the car sank.

"I feel like, you know, anybody would have done what I did. I feel like it was just a natural reaction," Saleem said.

What he calls a natural reaction is naturally getting the humble hero a lot of attention from his colleagues.

Metrobus Divisional Superintendent Melvin Watson: "It makes us very very proud that we have the type of person here at this agency that that cares about people."

And even though his boss is singing his praises, Saleem says he's just happy to get back on his bus route 27.

But now the 34-year-old is taking a special lesson along for the ride.

"Life is precious. Life is precious. You don't know what each day is going to bring. We just have to all try and be there for one another. And it was just. I'm just glad that I was there. And that I was able to help."