Friday I had to work late. Mr B had his Swedish course after work and we had friends coming in from Austria. A bit hectic, but everything seemed to be coming together just fine. I thought.
At 5.30pm I was in the car heading back from work, when I get a call from Mr B saying Vince is gone. Mr B was with both kids at the grocery store about to pay, when apparently Vince just took off and ran out of the store. With an amazing luck, our friends from Austria arrived just then and they were driving down the main street as they had missed to turn right onto our street. They see Vince run out of the store, board the bus through the back door, the door closes and the bus drives off.
Our friends realize this is not good and realize Mr B has to be somewhere around, finds him and tells him Vince boarded a blue bus heading south. Mr B leaves Eds with our friends, gets into his car and calls me. He needs me to find phone numbers and call, he is going to try to catch up with the bus. Friday after noon in rush hour.
I am about 45 min from home.
I panic. Completely. I call a friend up and her hubby jumps in the car to see if Vince got off at ‘our’ bus stop.
I then call 112 (Europe’s 911) and get through to the police. I tell them my son with Down syndrome, who can not talk, just boarded a bus heading for Gothenburg downtown. (That is Sweden’s second largest city, and there is only one bus stop before the end station. The first bus stop is right of a very crowded main road (road 45) and I am having images flying by before my eyes of all the things that can happen).
The police woman calms me down as good as she can, and she tells me patrol cars are on the way to stop the bus. I explain to her that Vince may or may not react to his name. I cannot remember what he is wearing and I cannot remember his Swedish identification number. I did remember black shoes.
Vince is really good with knowing his way around and knowing which direction to go if he has been somewhere before. I am panicking thinking IF he gets to Gothenburg, he might remember where we played a soccer computer game on a big screen. That is across a very busy road, right next to the bus stop.
I talk to Mr B again who tells me he can not see the bus, which should be somewhere in front of him on the main street. Then he needs to hang up. I am hyperventilating and feeling extremely useless from my position 50 km north of everything.
A few minutes later, which feels like a few hours, Mr B calls me and tells me he has Vince. He managed to stop the bus and got on and got Vincent. Vince was totally happy sitting in the very back looking out the window…
I called the police back and they cancelled their cars.
Slowly I got my car into gear and started heading home again.
Two hours later I was still shaking. I could not ignore all the what ifs. I know that does not help me, but I am still frozen into shock when I think about it.
That night as I had read Vince’s bed time story he told me all about how he had ridden the bus on his own. He got on, sat down, no shoes on the seat, sitting all the time, bus stop and then sad dad. He knew exactly what he had done and that he had done it right. I have tried to explain to him never to ride the bus alone again, but I am not sure at all if he knows why not?
It was the scariest moment in my life, and I am so extremely thankful it ended fine. It is often hard to explain to others how dangerous situation may happen with Vince. A lot of times he is really calm, and others may not see the runaway side. This is just how it can be. I am telling school about it tomorrow, so they see what CAN happen, and WILL happen if Vince just get a blink of an eye moment. Scary, very scary.