Sec 2 student saves boy running barefoot across busy junction
The sound of motorists honking repeatedly caught his attention.
When Vince Thant, 13, turned around, he was horrified to see a boy run barefoot across a bus intersection, oblivious to the vehicles around him that had stopped out of concern for his safety.
The Secondary 2 normal academic student said the incident happened at the junction of Edgefield Plains and Punggol Field in Sengkang at about 7pm on Jan 28.
The boy, who looked about six years old, was running from one side of Edgefield Plains to the other side and back again while the red man was lit at the traffic light crossing.
"There were several cars and a lorry honking at him," Vince told The New Paper.
"He was just smiling and running on the road, as if he hadn't noticed anything. I thought he might get hit."
Vince dashed onto the road to grab the boy by the hand and pull him to safety. His quick thinking saved the boy from harm.
The teen also took off his shoes and let the boy wear them.
A picture of the Edgefield Secondary School student with the boy wearing his shoes was later posted on Facebook.
The post said two students from the school had seen the boy wandering around alone and barefoot, and one of them then offered his shoes for the boy to wear while waiting for the police to arrive.
Asked why he would risk his life to rescue the boy, Vince said: "I put myself in his parents' shoes and in that moment, all I could think about was his safety."
He and his classmate, Leong Jun Hao, also 13, then asked the boyif he was okay.
Jun Hao said: "He was young and alone, so we asked him where his parents were.
"But all he did was smile and kept pointing at the pasar malam (Malay for night market). So we took him there to look for his parents."
Vince handed his shoes to the boy because he was worried the boy would step on sharp objects with his bare feet and hurt himself. Though they were oversized, they helped to protect the young boy's feet.
When the students re-enacted what they did last Friday, Vince removed his shoes to reveal socks that had holes.
Asked about them, he brushed it off, saying it was not a big deal.
"I didn't want his feet to get hurt," said Vince, whose parents are divorced.
"As for myself, I had my socks on, so it was okay."
After about half an hour of looking for the boy's parents without success, the students asked a passer-by to call the police and handed the child over when officers arrived at 8pm.
The boy was later reunited with his parents.
His father, who wanted to be known only as Mr Chai, told Lianhe Wanbao that his wife was looking after their six-year-old son at a nearby playground when he ran off.
When they could not find him after two hours of searching, they went to the police for help.
Mr Chai said the police told him that his son had been found and was safe.
Many people who saw the photo on Facebook commended the school and the students for their good deed.
Facebook user Zen Ginji, who had uploaded the photo, said the students were good people who deserved to be recognised for their kind act.
Vince and Jun Hao said they did not know about the Facebook post until their classmates told them the next day.
Jun Hao said: "Our friends praised us and asked us why we were so kind. But it's what anyone would have done."
The students said their parents were also proud of them.
Their school principal, Mr Leong Kok Kee, praised his students for their act.
He said: "I am thankful for their moral courage. As we are teaching them, they are teaching us too.
"Their act has inspired all of us."
"I didn't want his feet to get hurt. As for myself, I had my socks on, so it was okay."
- Vince Thant
"Our friends praised us and asked us why we were so kind. But it's what anyone would have done."
- Leong Jun Hao
PARENTS REMINDED TO KEEP CLOSE WATCH
A kindergarten in Hougang has urged parents to take their children's safety seriously.
Nativity Church Kindergarten said in a letter to parents that there had been two incidents of its pupils who went missing after they were released to their parents.
Its principal Irene Leong told The New Paper that the incidents occurred last month.
She said: "The parents panicked after they lost sight of their children who had wandered off, and came back to the teachers for help.
"Thankfully, the kids were still within church premises and were found shortly after."
She added she had sent out the letter so that parents could take better care of their children.
REMIND HELPERS TOO
The letter also stated that domestic helpers have been observed to be engrossed in their mobile phones while walking with the children, and parents are encouraged to remind the helpers to be more attentive. Mrs Leong added: "The domestic helpers who pick up the kids have been seen crossing the road while looking at their phones.
"So since I was sending the parents a letter, I decided to add that in as a reminder."
A police spokesman said that from 2011 to 2013, an average of 2,240 persons were reported missing each year, with 20 per cent of them aged 16 and below.
"The number of persons aged 16 and below who were reported missing has been on the decline, from over 500 in 2011 to just over 420 in 2013," said the spokesman.
"When a report is received on a missing person, the police will immediately conduct inquiries. "
The spokesman added that anyone who wishes to provide information on a missing person can call the police hotline at 1800-255-0000 or submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/CrimeStopper
All information received will be kept strictly confidential.