Any parent would be more than proud and reassured if they knew their child was being driven to school by Ms. Renita Smith of Maryland.
In the most dangerous moments, some people can be held back by fear, but for her, all she could think about were her passengers.
In 2016, Ms. Smith was returning her students to their homes. They were just between four to nine-year-old.
It was all fine until the third or fourth stop when her vehicle started to show some alarming signs of an impending disaster. A loud beep sounded, then smoke started to fume the interior.
Smith only just stopped the vehicle and was about to make a call for a different bus, when she spotted the flames from her rearview mirror.
“I unbuckled my safety belt, I opened the door, and I got my babies off that bus,” Smith told TODAY. “Once the neighbors came out, and took the children as they got off to a safe haven, I ran back on the bus to make sure that there were no more kids on the bus.”
While everyone was safe and unharmed, the bus started to erupt in a fierce fire. According to footage shared on social media, the tenacious flames scorched from the inside of the vehicle, leaping through the windows, and sent thick black smoke all over.
Was it not for Ms. Smith’s quick thinking, no one knows what might have happened.
Smith said it all came from her maternal instinct. Her motherly impulse was what got the school bus driver back to the vehicle for another check, while it was still burning.
“Then I ran back into the bus because I needed to make sure that all of my babies were accounted for,” she told Ellen DeGeneres in another interview.
“Its my job,” she said. “They’re my babies until I give them back to you.”
Smith, a single mother of two, takes praises for her courage humbly.
“I appreciate all the love and all of the kindness and all the kind words and all the honoring ceremonies,” she said.
With a rich heart, Smith however was still living paycheck to paycheck during the time when she was invited to Ellen’s talk show, The Ellen Show. The owner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom medal knew a hero like Smith and her family deserves more than that.
It was then she presented Smith with a $20,000 cheque!