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Miami-Dade County Bus Operator saves a baby from drowning by quickly jumping into action

saleem - Miami-Dade County Bus Operator saves a baby from drowning by quickly jumping into action

A Miami-Dade Transit Bus Operator saves a baby from drowning by diving into a canal after the family’s car plunged into a canal.

Bus Operator Elijah Saleem was driving a Route 27 bus northbound on NW 155 Street and 27 Avenue late Monday night when he saw a car go into a canal. Saleem immediately stopped the bus, secured it, and after calling for assistance, rushed to assist those inside the car.

The baby’s father had managed to pull out his son out from the sinking car. He handed the baby to Saleem and asked him to please save his baby. Saleem grabbed the baby in one arm and with the other assisted the father and his female companion, both in their 20s, in getting out of the car, which continued to sink.

Saleem’s quick and brave action ensured everyone survived the accident.

“We are tremendously proud of Mr. Saleem’s heroic actions. He saved a baby and his family from drowning that night. This is an example of the many ways our employees go above and beyond the call of duty. We want to thank Mr. Saleem for his selfless actions that night, and for the excellent service he provides to our riders every day,” said Department of Transportation and Public Works Director Alice N. Bravo, P.E.

According to Saleem’s supervisors, Saleem, who has been with DTPW since late 2011, is an exemplary employee who often goes out of his way to help others.

“For him to go above and beyond, that’s the type of person he is – day in and day out,” said Metrobus Division Superintendent Melvin Watson. “We try to instill in our Bus Operators that we are public servants first. He is a person who cares about people, and that is what guided his actions.”

Saleem said he doesn’t consider himself a hero; he is just glad he was able to assist the family that night.

“I was just hoping I could help,” said Saleem.

On March 5, 2019, Commissioner Esteban Bovo and Commissioner Barbara Jordan presented a commendation to bus operator Elijah Saleem.

“Elijah is proof that there are indeed angels amongst us. Not many people would risk their own lives to save others far removed from themselves,” Commissioner Bovo said. “To think that this young man, without hesitation, jumped in a canal to save a family who was desperate for survival shows humanity at its best. Our County is incredibly proud to honor one of our own. We thank Elijah for answering a call greater than himself, as his name will be synonymous with hero in the halls of Miami-Dade Transit.”

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