It was a Christmassy scene in Milwaukee as bus driver Tayetta Currin drove down the snowy streets of the Wisconsin city in December 2017. The 29-year-old made an unscheduled stop on her way downtown, when something totally unplanned for happened. She saw a female on the sidewalk in distress. Once stationary, the doors of the bus opened to admit the stricken woman who almost collapsed in agony. But it was only when she spoke to Currin that it became clear just how critical the case was. It was going to be a race against time.
The December 2017 weather was bitter in Milwaukee. Due to the chill coming off the nearby Lake Michigan, the northern city has an average temperature as low as 19°F. Christmas Eve saw snow covering the roads and sidewalks, and it was the perfect day for sensible people to be snuggled up indoors. But unfortunately not everyone in the city could afford to do that.
Originally from the more temperate climes of Atlanta, Georgia, Currin was working her shift as normal that day. She was an employee of the Milwaukee County Transit System, and was in charge of a GoldLine bus. Currin’s duty was to safely transport her fellow citizens around in the treacherous conditions. But something happened during her shift which was definitely not in Currin’s job description.
The remarkable events that unfolded that snowy Christmas Eve saw Currin become a small local star. It was the quick-witted and empathetic way that she dealt with an unexpected situation that impressed people. And what’s more, video evidence of the incident was to emerge. And once that footage hit the internet, the compassionate Currin’s fame spread further.
It all started when Currin was following the GoldLine route at about 10:00 a.m. This runs from Brookfield in the east of Milwaukee, across town and then on to Downer Woods in the west. Currin was not far into the journey, when out of the corner of her eye she spotted something worrying. Through the windshield of the bus, the driver saw the figure of a woman waving at her. But it was not a friend, nor did she appear to be a passenger simply requesting the bus to stop.
The woman seemed to be in distress. Currin’s instincts told her to pull the bus over to the sidewalk and see if the stranger was okay. And it was lucky that the driver did, because when the female pedestrian approached the vehicle, she was not in good shape at all. After Currin opened the vehicle’s doors for her, it was clear that the situation was serious. The woman was weeping in agony and looked like she was going to fall over.
Currin later spoke to local ABC-affiliated channel WISN-TV about the incident, and what happened when she first spoke to the woman in trouble. “She told me she was going into labor,” Currin reported. All at once, she knew that although the woman was not her passenger, the bus driver still had a civic responsibility. It was urgent, and Currin would have to act fast to help the stranger.
“I just immediately got out of my chair and helped her,” she told a reporter from WISN-TV on January 3, 2018. The story was supported by surveillance footage from the GoldLine’s security cameras. In the clip, Currin is shown leaping out of the driver’s seat and approaching the woman at the doors of the vehicle. Then the bus driver is seen gently helping the female get on to the bus.
The video next shows two passengers also coming to the heavily pregnant woman’s aid. The three of them managed to get the imminent mom-to-be seated and relatively settled, and then Currin focussed on calling the emergency services to the scene. “It was shocking,” recalled Currin, “I had to think quick.” The bus driver dialed 911.
Currin had had experience of exactly what it was like to be in labor – twice, in fact. She has two sons of her own, aged seven and 11 years old. Consequently, she decided against turning the GoldLine into a giant ambulance and driving the woman to the emergency room herself. Although the Froedtert Hospital was very close by, Currin worried about the state of the roads and that bumps along the way might have done damage to either mother or baby.
Instead, Currin focussed all of her attention on calming the expectant mom down while they waited for the emergency crew to arrive. The woman was clearly experiencing severe pain, and the tears were now running down her face. But mom-of-two Currin was familiar with the agony of contractions, and she did her best to reassure and comfort the distressed stranger.
The bus driver learned that her latest passenger was seven months pregnant, and the female’s condition seemed to be deteriorating “I just told her to stay in the seat because she was sliding off and told her the paramedics were coming right away,” Currin told WISN-TV. It must have felt like an eternity for the woman in labor, but mercifully the emergency services turned up quickly.
A paramedic team stretchered the woman off the bus and whisked her off to hospital. And then, just like that, the drama was over. And Currin realized that she hadn’t even learned the mom-to-be’s name. But it would not be long before a lot of people learned the name of the bus-driving good Samaritan. Soon after the Milwaukee County Transit System released the footage of the incident, Currin featured in numerous local, national and international news reports. And she was widely praised for her caring and civic minded behavior that Christmas Eve.
When she discussed what happened that day, and her subsequent actions, Currin remained modest. The bus driver put it down to being prepared for anything as part of her job dealing with the public and traveling the Milwaukee streets. “You have got to be ready for whatever happens,” she told WISN-TV. “You have to be patient, watchful, mindful and have good judgment.”
Even though Currin played a big part in getting the anonymous mom-to-be safely to E.R. that day, there has been no follow up. The bus driver has still not learned the woman’s name and does not know what happened to her or the newborn. Nevertheless, Currin had a message that she wanted to pass on to the hopefully happy new parent via the initial news report.
She spoke to the reporter from WISN-TV, in the hope that the woman would one day hear her words somehow. Currin addressed the new mom directly, saying, “I hope everything is okay, and [that] you reach out to us, and you let us know what’s going on with you and the baby.” So far, however, there is no update to share on the story.
Nevertheless, internet users worldwide thought Currin was pretty awesome for pulling over for the woman in labor, when the news of the incident broke online. Readers of the internet site of U.K. tabloid newspaper the Daily Mail had plenty of good things to say about the Milwaukee County Transit System employee. “Restoring my faith in humankind – thank you for this great story” wrote one.
“Great good Samaritan story. Well done to all. Hope the pregnant lady was okay,” said another commenter who was impressed by Currin’s cool but kind actions on Christmas Eve. Although the pregnant Milwaukee woman’s fate is still unknown, there is one thing for certain. There are now a lot of people all over the world who are hoping that things went smoothly after the initial shock for her and her baby.
But this was not the first time Currin has been compelled to call 911 during her career in public transport. Amazingly, about 12 months before the pregnant stranger panic, the bus driver was involved in another emergency situation while riding a route. Apparently, a different woman had waved down Currin’s bus, bleeding heavily after having been shot in a robbery.
Currin has only been a bus driver for the Milwaukee County Transit System for three years. But, nevertheless, in this short time, she has kept her cool dealing with two dramatic incidents on the job. Situations that would have sent many other people into a hot panic. “You see more than what people usually see when they’re behind a desk in the office,” Currin said with a smile.