Toddler abandoned at Surrey bus stop by his father

METRO VANCOUVER — Police are crediting kind Surrey strangers for rescuing and attempting to identify a three-year-old boy who was struck in the face and then abandoned at a bus stop.

RCMP said several people called 911 around 11 a.m. on Saturday to report they had seen a man hit a boy in the face at a bus stop near 152nd Street and 64th Avenue.

The man, who appeared to be the boy’s caregiver, then boarded a bus and left the child on the street, police said.

“The boy was cared for by witnesses,” police said in a release.

“The boy was not readily identified and as such witnesses used social media sites, distributing his photograph in an attempt to identify the boy.”

Police were able to identify the boy and reunite him with his mother following an investigation.

Staff Sgt. Joe Johal said police arrested a man after receiving a phone tip from a citizen.

Lucy Ingram, an employee at the Berezan Liquor Store, helped care for the boy until police arrived.

It was “heartbreaking” how the man treated the boy, she said.

“It made me sick to my stomach, like he discarded him like he was a piece of garbage.”

Ingram rushed outside to bring the boy into the store after one of her regular customers alerted her that a boy was playing alone in a field across the street.

The boy was wearing swim trunks, soaking-wet runners, a T-shirt, a summer jacket and a toque, according to Ingram.

“As soon as he saw me coming, he put his arms up and I grabbed him,” Ingram said.

A customer went home and returned with a pair of sweatpants and a hooded sweatshirt for the boy, while Ingram’s co-worker gave the boy her phone to play with in an effort to get him to speak.

Ingram said another customer took a photo of the boy, hoping to identify him through a community Facebook page while they waited more than an hour for police to arrive.

After the photo was posted, people who wanted to help packed the store, Ingram said. “The amount of people that came in was just crazy.”

The boy began to “open up and start giggling” when a man came to the store with four toy dinosaurs for him, Ingram said.

“The only thing he would say when we asked what his name was, he’d say, ‘I’m dinosaur.’ That was his name after that. That was all we got.”

The boy remained at the store from about 10:30 a.m. until social workers retrieved him at 2 p.m., Ingram said.

“He was very cute. It just broke my heart.”

Police are recommending charges against a Surrey resident who is a relative of the child, though they wouldn’t say what their relationship is. The man was released from police custody with conditions, and is scheduled to appear in court.

— with files from Canadian Press

neagland@theprovince.com

twitter.com/nickeagland

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