Sunday afternoon the Greater Vancouver area was issued an Amber Alert. The Amber Alert is a system used in many places around the world to get the word out when a child is abducted and with the co-operation of news media, citizens and other public services the system has helped find many children. The alerts are a way to get people to listen to the radio for a description of the child, the abductor and the vehicle they may be traveling in out to people in hopes that they will alert the authorities if they see them.
I had heard about the Amber Alert when my friend Leah had sent me a text message to ask what was up with the alerts on the buses in Vancouver. Being at work I hadn’t seen anything, but immediately checked Twitter to find on our Translink Tweets feed numerous notices about the Alert. Every one of the people who work for Translink who we follow were sending out information to their followers, their tweets giving links to the news and press releases as well as descriptions of the boy, the abductor (his father) and the vehicle they were in. When I went on my break I was walking on Main Street and every bus driving down the street was alerting passengers and other drivers to listen to their radio for news about the Amber Alert. I hear that on some of the buses the drivers were giving away the important information to the riders as well.
Eventually the boy was found after being seen at Guildford Mall, someone in the mall had recognized the boy from the photos being passed around and he is now at home with his grandparents.
I have to commend Translink for the system in place to alert people of the Amber Alert. Because the buses are such a common sight on the streets of Vancouver, particularly downtown and in the city core, they’re a really great way to get the word out to people to get more information and be alert for the missing child. But not only that, being unable to hear on the radio what was going on I was able to get the information from their Tweets. It’s unknown what part Translink played in getting that boy home, but they certainly do their best to help.