Thanks to a brave fifth grader from Texas who stepped up to save the day, when a driver lost control of a school bus on Monday, no students were injured.
San Antonio-area student Serenity Hugo quickly noticed that something was wrong with her bus driver when he fell into pain during the daily commute, according to WOAI.
The bus was full of children from Cibolo’s Schlather Intermediate School, and they were put into immediate danger when the driver suddenly experienced a seizure, losing control over the bus.
“He was shaking,” Hugo said to WOAI. “Stuff was coming out of his mouth.”
The school bus rapidly veered off the road as the man fell unconscious, swerving dangerously close to traffic. But in the commotion, Hugo didn’t lose her wits.
Instead, she remembered what her driver had told students to do just days earlier in the event of such an emergency.
“He told us about the button,” she recalled. “He said when I have a seizure or something, you flip that, push the doors open, and the bus will stop.”
Hugo said scared students were screaming in the chaos as the bus careened off the road. She even believed for a moment that the car would crash into another vehicle.
But the fifth grader made her way to the key before that could happen.
“I thought we were going to crash into the car,” Hugo said. “There were these 2 kids, yelling at me, to switch the thing. So, I was looking around. I switched it. We pushed through the doors and ran out.”
Thanks to Hugo, the bus came to a stop without causing too much damage. Though it had hopped a curb and hit a tree, no one was hurt.
“We pushed through the doors and ran out,” Hugo said.
The bus driver was taken to a hospital, while a school district spokesman issued a statement about the close call and the heroism of the student.
“Regarding the incident, a student managed to engage the air door release switch, which allows the front door to be opened manually,” Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City Independent School District spokesman Ed Suarez told WOAI.
“She exited the bus and her actions helped speed the process and avoid a bottleneck at the emergency exit, located in the rear of the bus,” his statement continued.
Parents expressed relief that before the incident, the bus driver had taught students about emergency safety. If not, the situation could have ended with significant injuries or deaths.
“If they didn’t receive the training on Friday, it would have been a lot worse,” one parent, Soteria Amosa-Hugo, told WOAI.
Parents and their kids are now safely awaiting news of the bus driver’s condition.
He was still in the hospital as of Tuesday, and his medical status was not known to the public.