'Instinct took over': Minneapolis bus driver rescued boy wandering in diaper

A Minneapolis Public Schools bus driver is being honored as a hero after his quick actions may have saved a toddler’s life during the bitter cold last week.

The driver saw the child outside wearing nothing but a diaper and pulled him into the warm bus. The child is OK, and on Tuesday night, the driver was honored in a school board meeting.

Lyle Sibernagle has spent more than three decades behind the wheel of a school bus, but last week, he encountered quite the shock.

“I pulled up to the stop sign and I saw this little boy standing on the corner just in a diaper, nothing else on, just in a diaper,” he said.

Temperatures were bitterly cold that morning, close to zero when he saw the child on Bryant and 5th in the Harrison neighborhood. According to the police report, the little boy had to climb down several flights of stairs, go over an icy sidewalk and cross a busy street to get to where Lyle found him.

“He was shaking, you know how you kind of shiver when you’re cold? His whole body was trembling,” he said.

There was no training for this, Lyle says - instinct took over.

“So I pulled over, ran over, took my coat off, wrapped him up, put him in the front seat of the van,” he explained.

Lyle was able to dispatch for help, and police were called, as well. The child didn’t speak, but Lyle’s years as a driver, father and grandpa kicked in.

“I just kind of talked to him, told him, ‘it’s OK, it’s OK, you’re going to get warm now,’ and made sure my jacket was around him and made sure the heat was on high blowing on him. He just kind of looked at me and had some tear drops going,” he said. 

Minneapolis police say the child was checked out at the hospital and is doing OK. It’s now being investigated as a child neglect and endangerment case.  

“There was no second thought… if the child’s life was in danger, I’d save that child’s life,” Lyle said. “I would’ve did it even without being honored. It’s just like I said, it’s instinct. You do what you gotta do."