Mike Thomas is a bus driver for Portland’s Tri-met transit company. For the Murphy family, Mike isn’t just another bus driver, he’s a lifesaver.
Mike first noticed a strange man pulling the dog by his collar, in the middle of a dark road. The vigilant driver immediately stopped in the middle of the street, as the stranger asked to be allowed on the bus. Out of concern to the man and dog’s safety, Mike allowed the two on his bus despite the fact they weren’t waiting at a designated bus stop. Mike’s gut feeling was telling him that something wasn’t right. The dog didn’t appear to know the man. Mike’s feelings intensified when he saw the man, who didn’t seem to know “his” dog’s name, trying to force him to board the bus. Mike knew that something was wrong but he didn’t want to do anything yet.
The man sat next to a young woman and started talking to her. Mike listened closely to their conversation and overheard that the man offered “his” dog to the woman. This, without any doubt, confirmed Mike’s suspicions. He knew he had to confront the man.
When they got to the downtown station, the man and the doggo approached Mike to get off the bus and Mike sprung into action: “I grabbed Cooper’s collar and informed him that Cooper would be staying with me, and that I would be getting him back to his family.” he later told The Oregonian. The strange man got off and quickly disappeared, leaving the doggo behind.
Mike asked occasional riders to keep an eye on the pooch until he was able to hand him over to the transit police. “He was very well behaved. Most of the time, he just had a tennis ball in his mouth, and he sat and just kind of watched everything going on and seemed like a really happy dog,” Mike later recalled.
TriMet police called the number on the doggo’s nametag and learned that the dog, who’s answers to Cooper, belongs to Jane Murphy, a Southwest Portland resident, who was out of town at the time. Jane’s son, who was supposed to keep an eye on the pooch, called her minutes before the police, to tell her the dog was missing. Jane later told The Oregonian: “I couldn’t imagine if that man hadn’t come on the bus, what he would have done with (Cooper,)”
TriMet organized a special meeting between the driver and the Murphy’s. Mike brought the doggo an extra-large bow-wrapped bone and the Murphy’s finally got a chance to thank Mike personally.
It remains unclear why the strange man tried to claim ownership on a microchipped dog that was wearing a nametag. Either way, all that matters is that the sweet pooch returned to his loving and caring home.
Watch The Oregonian’s report on the event with real footage from the bus, in the video below:
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