Woman’s quick response brings wandering toddler in Buffalo to safety

It was just a regular day for Sylvia Collins yesterday. A food service director at Garden Gate Nursing Facility by day and an Uber driver by night, she was finishing her shift at 2 a.m. when something caught her eye. A 2-year-old boy was wandering Main Street.

“I thought it was an animal. A lot of stray animals roam the street, but when I took a closer look I saw two feet and said, ‘Oh my God, that’s a baby!’ I immediately went into motherly instinct mode,” said Collins.

Collins stopped her vehicle and got out of the car.

“He came directly to my vehicle. I walked around. I said, ‘Come here, honey.’ I took my coat off because he said he was cold. I took it off, wrapped him up, picked him up, put him in my car and asked him basic questions.”

Collins didn’t think twice and took the boy directly to Oishei Children’s Hospital where she alerted nursing staff to what happened.

“I made them aware. ‘Hey, I found this young boy roaming the street’ and they took the necessary action and made the call,” she said.

Collins decided to stay with the boy until 6 a.m. She said she knew he was familiar with her and she wanted to make sure he was comfortable with nurses and police coming in and out of his room. When he finally fell asleep, she went back home to her children and got a little rest before her next shift at work.

When asked if she was in shock, Collins said no.

“I didn’t have time to think about anything, he was a priority. I looked at him like he was my own child.”

Collins didn’t tell her superiors or colleagues what happened until she started getting phone calls and needed to tell them why she was walking away. She was thankful when one of those calls was from her sister who told her the good news that the child’s family had been found.

“I was relieved because I know I would have probably went back to the hospital to check on him,” she said.

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