Four-year-old girl dropped off at wrong school bus stop in St. Paul

It was a scary moment for a St. Paul mom when earlier this week she went to pick her daughter up from the bus stop, but she wasn't there.

Monday, after 20 minutes of waiting for Maleia to get dropped off at Delaware Avenue and Sidney Street West in St. Paul, Danielle Distad began to worry. She called the Department of Transportation to find out the location of her daughter’s bus, but was placed on hold for ten minutes.

“At that time, they informed me her bus was not coming to her stop and never came to her stop,” said Distad.

Instead, four-year-old Maleia was dropped off at her morning pick-up stop on George Street E and Livingston Avenue, which is a mile and a half away from her afternoon drop-off stop. Fortunately, a neighbor recognized Maleia and stayed with her until Distad showed up.

“I was in tears, I ran and gave her a hug!” said Distad.

On Tuesday, Fox 9’s cameras were rolling when Maleia was brought to her correct stop. At the drop-off, the First Student bus driver spoke with Distad, expressing remorse for the mistake. 

“I’m so sorry about yesterday,” said the driver.

The driver didn't just leave Maleia at the wrong stop, he missed the fact that she’s Pre-K, which is indicated by the yellow badge on her backpack. It's a reminder to drivers, she isn’t supposed to be allowed off the bus without a parent present.

“I didn’t realize she was Pre-K,” said the driver. “I didn’t realize she had a badge. I didn’t see that and so I didn’t realize there was a problem until I talked to you this morning and I’ve been sick about it all day.”

“I don’t want to get him in trouble,” Distad assured. “My issue is First Student did not acknowledge their wrongdoings as a whole. And it could’ve been a lot worse. She’s four. They dropped her off on the busiest street of town.”

The driver told Distad he will take more precautions in the future.

“She’s going to sit in this front seat,” said the driver. “If I were you, I’d be so mad at me, I can’t believe it. I’m very sorry.”

“I do understand that mistakes happen, the only issue is it’s a mistake with a little human being,” said Distad.

Relieved, Distad now hopes no child is overlooked again.

“The feeling that I felt not knowing where my child was I don’t want anyone, any mom, dad to feel that because it’s terrible,” she said.

Fox 9 reached out to First Student, but they did not immediately get back to us.