MBTA bus driver returns missing purse to woman

BELMONT, Mass. — An MBTA bus driver went out of his way to return a missing purse to a woman who lost it Sunday evening.

A mother and her daughter, Melissa De Witte, at approximately 5 p.m. were driving from Belmont to Concord. While they loaded the car, the mother put her purse on their vehicle’s trunk. When they left, the mother forgot about her purse, which slipped off the back of the trunk.

The women didn’t realize until they arrived in Concord that the purse, which contained the mother’s cell phone, was missing. They quickly phoned the police for help, but little did they know someone already found her purse.

“She started tracking the phone and saw the handbag moving around the screen, and we were watching it over the evening,” Melissa said. “At first, we thought it was an Uber driver.”

Melissa told Boston 25, after a few hours of tracking her mother’s cell phone, she realized the phone was traveling along a bus route she used to take back in high school and college. Melissa and her aunt made their way to the bus depot.

“The bus pulled into the stop, and I flagged the driver down. He asked verifying questions to make sure he was giving it to the right person - the color of the bag, etc. He could not have been nicer,” Melissa said.

The bus driver, Djiby Sow, told Melissa he saw the bag out of the corner of his eye while on his route, and he did not have his cell phone with him to call anyone, so he planned to turn it in at the end of his shift.

“As soon as I grabbed it, I put it in front of the bus, and I took my vest and I kind of hid it just to make sure, you know, this lady will get her belonging because I know it had keys in it, it has cell phone,” Sow said.

Melissa said Sow told her it was not his normal bus route. She told Boston 25 that it also happened to be his birthday that day.

“A fabric purse with some embroidery on it. The fact that he saw it is amazing,” Melissa said.

“As soon as they found me, they couldn’t believe it. They were so excited and happy, and they were really good people. I’m so glad I was able to meet those type of people on my birthday,” Sow said.

As a way to thank Sow for all of his help with finding the purse, Melissa took to Twitter, asking if everyone could help celebrate his birthday. The MBTA quickly responded to her tweets.

The MBTA released a statement to Boston 25 about the generous act made by Sow.

“People choose to enter public service because they want to make a difference in their communities, and Djiby Sow is someone who is doing just that. I could not be prouder of Djiby and all of the dedicated MBTA employees who have demonstrated a strong commitment to public service throughout the pandemic.”

—  MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak

“He politely refused to take a reward,” Melissa said. “He was good-humored and kind. It just made our evening. A happy ending to a stressful story.”

“The world is just too small, let’s all just do the right thing and we’ll be alright,” Sow said.