The 10-year-old boy was on his way to school and stopped to tie his shoe in the 7100-block of South Morgan Thursday.
Police say that's when 57-year-old George Graves tried to grab him.
Two Streets and Sanitation workers saw that the boy was in trouble and pulled him to safety inside their vehicle and called police.
Graves, who lives on the block where the attempted kidnapping took place, appeared in court Friday.
Alfreda Clark and Mary Baggett don't consider themselves heroes - although they rescued a boy from a convicted felon - who allegedly tried to snatch him off the street as he walked to school.
"We looked at that little boy, and there was fear all over his face," said Clark.
It happened Thursday around 9 a.m. as the two workers surveyed empty lots for clean up in the Englewood neighborhood on the South Side.
"I'm happy to have saved a child," Baggett said.
The 10-year-old victim says he was on his way to class at Hinton Elementary School when he stopped to tie his shoe while in an alley. That's when he says he spotted a man behind him who was walking toward him quickly. As he ran away, he says the man began running too while trying to grab him. The boy then hid between two abandoned buildings.
"And she said, 'Mary, you you see the child, he is going between two vacant houses,' and I'm wondering what he is doing," Baggett said.
"I said, 'Are you all right?' He didn't say anything. I asked again," said Clark.
The workers - both grandmothers themselves - drove the boy to his friend's house as they dialed 911. Armed with a description of the would-be abductor, Englewood District beat officers arrested Graves walking in the 7000-block of South Carpenter Street.
"Walking down the street like a normal person as if he wasn't guilty," said Chicago Officer Aloysius Reeves.
Graves has a prior arrest for aggravated battery to a child, among other things. His bond has been set at $250,000. Chicago's mayor joined those praising - Clark and Baggett as the women take it all in stride.
Graves, a construction worker and father of five, denies any involvement in the incident.