Maryland bus driver Renita Smith made national headlines in September when she saved 20 students from a bus that caught fire.
Renita was on her third stop of the afternoon when a beeping noise started coming from the dashboard. As she came to a halt, the kids in the back told her they saw smoke. Her initial instinct was to radio in and call for transportation back up, but when she saw flames curling up around the side of the bus in the rearview mirror, Renita knew there would be no time for that.
She immediately got the kids in a single file line and off the bus to safety in a residential neighborhood. To make sure no child was left behind, Renita even went back onto the burning bus, double-checking that all of her babies were safe.
Hardly a second after she took her last step off the bus, the entire vehicle was swallowed in smoke and flames.
“I put the mic back down, undid my seatbelt, jumped up, got my babies and got off,” Renita 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.”
The children’s parents praised Renita for her bold act of courage and bravery in the face of great danger. But according to Renita, she was merely doing her job.
“Its my job,” she said. “They’re my babies until I give them back to you.”
When Ellen found out about this hero bus driver, she had to invite her on the show. And when she found out that she lived paycheck to paycheck, she decided to do something spectacular for this single mom of two.
Watch Ellen surprise the socks off of Renita with a gift that she most definitely deserved!!