Renita Smith, a Maryland school bus driver, is being hailed as a hero after she saved 20 students from an inferno.
Smith, who calls the students her “babies,” went into “Mommy mode” when the dashboard brake light on her bus came on then began smoking.
“Someone yelled fire,” a student described in an interview with ABC News. Smith stopped the bus and called for help. When she noticed flames, she immediately began evacuating the vehicle.
“I put the mic back down, undid my seatbelt, jumped up, got my babies and got off,” she told ABC News. “Once we got off, neighbors kicked right into ‘Mommy mode,’ as I call it, and helped the kids get to a safe haven. When that was going on, I ran back onto the bus to make sure there was no children on the bus. … By the time I got to the last step on the bus, it just went up in smoke.”
Smith, who is also a mother, takes her job very seriously.
“When I’m driving them, you’re my children until I drop you off to your biological parents. I have to handle each child with care, as a Mommy would her own, so that’s what I did,” she said. “That’s what I hope any human being would do for any child.”
Dashboard cam footage shows the bus engulfed in flames: