“You don’t expect to see a person in the road. Let alone a person with a dog.”
But, that was exactly what TriMet bus driver Mike Thomas saw one evening when he was on his usual Line 54 route to the Portland City Center in Oregon!
It was to be an eventful day at work for Mike. A very surprising one at that.
The car in front of the bus had just swerved to avoid a man standing in the middle of the road.
This guy was acting like walking towards traffic was a totally normal thing to do!
Mike slowed down the bus and that’s when he noticed there was a cute pup by the man’s side.
But, the dog didn’t seem to be too keen about his owner and pulled away when the man grabbed his collar.
The stranger approached and asked to be let on board, and Mike agreed out of concern for their safety.
But, for some reason the man let go of the yellow lab’s collar as if he was planning to leave the poor little guy behind!
When the driver asked if the yellow lab was his, the supposed dog owner said
“Yes, but he’s OK.”
Of course, Mike didn’t believe him and insisted that he bring the pup with him.
“I said, ‘No you need to get your dog, he’s in the road.’ So he called. He said ‘come here,’ but he didn’t say the dog’s name. The dog came back and he pulled the dog on by the collar.”
Mike knew in his gut that something wasn’t right, especially since the guy didn’t call the dog by his name, which happened to be Cooper.
He continued to let the odd charade play out until he could figure out what to do.
Mike kept his eyes and ears open, and when the man started chatting with the pretty young woman who sat next to him, Mike listened in on their conversation.
However, the bus driver was stunned when he heard the man ask if she wanted to take the dog home with her!
That’s when Mike knew that Cooper and his supposed owner did not actually belong together. This was a lost dog, and he had been found by the wrong person!
“Things didn’t fit together so I let him know that I just wasn’t buying it.”
Mike’s got great instincts. And instead of ignoring it, he went in to action.
It would be quite a while before the bus would reach its final destination in downtown Portland.
So, Mike endeavored to keep an eye on Cooper, who was happy to just lounge around and play with his tennis ball.
Now most people wouldn’t bother going beyond their job description, but for such a cute dog?
About an hour later when they finally arrived at the end of the line, the stranger started to hop off the bus with Cooper.
But, Mike quickly intervened and saved the dog from an unknown fate.
“I grabbed Cooper’s collar and said the dog’s gonna stay with me. I would be getting him back to his family.”
What a great guy!
Cooper’s real mama is Jane Murphy, who was vacationing in Hawaii at the time.
The pooch was being watched by her son, but the wily doggo he either escaped or was stolen while Jane’s son was at work that night.
She panicked when she heard her pup was on the lam! Thankfully, she later received a message on her phone that put her at ease.
“Your dog has been found. He’s on a TriMet bus. He was brought back home a little after midnight by the transit police.”
Jane wanted to thank Mike for his kindness, so she sent him a picture sent him a picture of Cooper that said “Thank you for bringing me back home to my family.”
She went on to say:
“It brings great pride that there are some really good people in this world. Who are willing to go out that extra mile for our four-legged animals.”
And we’re pretty sure that Cooper really was grateful for Mike guarding him and helping him find his way home!
In a news release, TriMet said that their bus drivers can do it all.
“They get thousands of people safely where they need to go every day. They provide customer service, give direction and offer assistance. And in the case of operator Mickeal “Mike” Thomas, they even rescue dogs.”
That’s right they do! Everyone was happy, Cooper is home safe and sound, and the company got free marketing as a result. Every dog does have its day!