VAN NUYS, Calif. - It was Sunday night around 9:30 p.m.
A toddler – maybe 2 years old or so – is running down busy Burbank Boulevard near Costello Avenue in Van Nuys.
It’s dark and the boy is paying attention to one thing, his electronic game tablet.
Luckily for him, a food delivery driver Gerson Tavares is driving down that stretch of the boulevard at the same time and stops.
He gets out of the car and, according to the 58-year-old driver from Brazil, "When I stopped, the little boy starts to run… and I start to move my arms like so…" to stop traffic, grab the boy and call the police.
Tavares is a father of four. His grown son Igor says his father was always a very protective dad.
He says he never would have let any of his kids out of his sight. On Sunday night, he says he grabbed that boy before a big truck came along that could have hit him.
To LaToya Granados, who lives in the neighborhood, "I am so devastated. I can’t believe that that happened and I also feel really frustrated. I don’t know what’s going on with that family."
LaToya has a four-year-old daughter and one on the way.
The Los Angeles Police Department says they connected the boy with his family and adds that the Department of Children and Family Services is investigating.
Tavares, who moved to the United States four years ago from Brazil to marry a woman he loved, had other big moments in his life like when he was named one of Brazil’s top bread makers. But, now, at least to his son, he’s a hero.
Says Igor, "Oh yeah, he’s a hero. I love this guy."
He kisses his dad, who responds, "No… I’m not a hero."
But he did grab that boy before he got hit by a car or truck and to Igor and others, which is what heroes do.
Igor adds, "It was like a very heroic act."
Not much is known about the boy, the family or the investigation that’s underway by the Department of Children and Family Services.