Acts of Kindness
Ellen can’t handle when mom who saved 20 kids from burning bus says she lives check to check
Renita Smith went back inside a burning bus to make sure no child was left behind. She said "It's my job. They're my babies until I give them back to you." 💖
Ma Fatima Garcia
11.13.21

“It’s my job, they’re my babies until I give them back to you.” -Renita Smith.

Being a bus driver isn’t an easy job.

The bus driver needs to make sure that every child inside the bus is comfortable and safe, from picking them up at home to arriving at the school.

Pexels/Lukas
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Pexels/Lukas

Every parent and school bus driver’s worst nightmare is an accident that will put these children’s lives in danger.

It was a usual Monday for everyone as Renita Smith was on her final round of kids from Glenarden Woods and Robert Goddard Elementary Schools.

And then it took a turn.

Pexels/Mary Taylor
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Pexels/Mary Taylor

After dropping the kid on her third stop, she noticed her brake lights were lit. She then decided to go to the nearest stoplight, which was just near the area.

Then, she heard a kid screaming.

YouTube Screenshot/AFSCME
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YouTube Screenshot/AFSCME

“Miss Bus Driver, Miss Bus Driver, it smells like smoke,” one of the kids called out.

To which Smith told the kids that she would just call the transportation assistance, but before she could complete the call, she noticed that her bus was already on fire!

Everything happened so fast.

The fire was getting bigger, and the thick smoke was also visible.

YouTube Screenshot/AFSCME
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YouTube Screenshot/AFSCME

Smith immediately opened the door and started assisting the children to safety. She remained calm and instructed the kids not to panic.

People have started gathering but were also too afraid to get closer. A neighbor helped Smith assist kids to her backyard.

Smith ran back to the burning bus.

YouTube Screenshot/AFSCME
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YouTube Screenshot/AFSCME

Black smoke surrounded the bus, but that didn’t stop Smith from going back inside. She walked the whole bus, checking every seat.

Smith wanted to make sure that no child was left inside that bus, and she did it. Then, she stepped off the bus.

The whole thing was ablaze.

YouTube Screenshot/The Ellen Show
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YouTube Screenshot/The Ellen Show

Many people who had witnessed the bus driver’s heroic act thought that she was so brave to have jumped back on the burning school bus.

But for Smith, it was different.

“Going through this has taken me back to grieving because I lost a son. To give those 20 parents their babies unharmed, to give them back, it really, melted my heart,” Smith said in her interview with AFSCME.

YouTube Screenshot/The Ellen Show
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YouTube Screenshot/The Ellen Show

On October 5, Smith was invited to The Ellen Show, where she told everyone what happened.

Ellen was amazed by Smith’s courage.

Even so, Smith just told her:

“It’s my job; they’re my babies until I give them back to you.”

YouTube Screenshot/The Ellen Show
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YouTube Screenshot/The Ellen Show

Ellen surprised Smith with a check.

After learning that she lives from paycheck to paycheck, Ellen made sure to get her a big one that would last a while- a $20,000 check.

Another surprise was waiting for this local hero.

YouTube Screenshot/AFSCME
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YouTube Screenshot/AFSCME

In her hometown, Smith was reunited with the kids she saved along with their families, school personnel, and even their local government officers.

She was shocked to see all of the kids there, holding a note that said, ‘Thank you”.

Everyone gave a small thank you speech.

Smith just couldn’t stop crying. To add to that, the kids sang the song, ‘Wind beneath my wings,’ as a way to say thank you.

YouTube Screenshot/AFSCME
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YouTube Screenshot/AFSCME

For our local hero, just seeing all kids healthy, happy, and safe is the best gift she could ask for.

Watch Ellen’s interview with Renita Smith below!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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By Ma Fatima Garcia
hi@sbly.com
Ma Fatima Garcia is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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