Baby boy born on Hackney bus returns for first birthday

Olatidebe Dennis Agboola took the wheel of the 394

A baby boy born on a Hackney bus got back on board to celebrate his first birthday last week.

Little Olatidebe Agboola took the wheel of a single-decker 394 bus where his mum Emiloju Fatima Lawal gave birth unexpectedly during rush hour last year.

Olatidebe, whose family now lives by the route’s final stop in Homerton High Street, had not been due for another five days.

But the bus driver and a fellow passenger rushed to the rescue when the 7lbs 8ozs bonny boy decided to make an early appearance.

One year on, staff and well wishers gathered on Thursday (October 21) at bus operator Hackney Community Transport’s (HCT) depot in Ash Grove, Hackney Central, to celebrate his birthday.

Olatidebe, who was later given the middle name Dennis after the bus manufacturer, received bus-themed gifts and a cake.

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Emiloju, now 38, had boarded the bus bound for Homerton Hospital in Lansdowne Drive at 8.30am on October 22 last year after she was unable to move her right leg.

Her waters had broken at 3am but, as she was feeling no pain or contractions, she persuaded her husband Abiodun Mukaila Agboola, now 30, to go to his cleaning job regardless.

But she later went into the final stages of labour as she travelled to the hospital.

Switchboard operator Carole Allen, of Whiston Road, Haggerston, asked driver Pauline Jacobs to call an ambulance.

Pauline, now 26, of Gopsall Street, Hoxton, stopped the bus in Amhurst Road and asked the five other passengers to leave while Emiloju crouched at the back of the bus to give birth.

“I was just shocked and frightened, and kept mostly on the speaker,” said Pauline.

“The year has gone quick. People still ask me: ‘Any more babies been born on the bus recently Pauline?’ So I tell them it’s Dennis’ birthday.”

Emiloju, whose three other children were all delivered in hospital, gave birth within minutes, and Olatidebe was wrapped in her headscarf.

“Before I knew it was a happy day, I was thinking: ‘I’m going to have a baby on the bus, what a mess.’ But there was nothing I could do,” she said.

“But afterwards, I thought there’s nothing nicer than this. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who helped.”

She said Olatidebe, who can already walk, was now a healthy toddler who enjoyed playing with telephones and messing up the house.

Frank Villeneuve-Smith, HCT communications director, said: “We see the mum on the 394 all the time and she happened to point out that Dennis was nearly one, so we thought it was a really nice connection to carry on making. Plus, it’s a great excuse for some cake.”