Bus drivers face the difficult task of maneuvering the whale of the roads through narrow lanes, rush hour traffic, and driver road rage. School bus drivers do it all while transporting the world’s most precious cargo.
On most days the transit to and from school goes off without a hitch. But the yellow bus isn’t impervious to the whims of disaster, and with dozens of children on board, there are no small accidents.
When a school bus driver in Alabama passed out behind the wheel, 37 students on board the bus were whipped into a frenzied panic.
There were 38 students in total.
On January 31st, 2017, Alabama high schooler Jesse Frank was on the school bus when the driver passed out behind the wheel.
In a post made on Facebook by the Mayor of Pell City, Alabama, it was called divine intervention.
“Pell City High School senior Jesse Frank previously made a last-minute decision to ride the bus,” Mayor Bill Pruitt said in the post. “His reason for riding that day was to help another student who was struggling with speaking English.”
Most of the students on the bus were in elementary school, so when Frank saw the bus driver in the beginnings of a medical emergency, he took it upon himself to dial 911.
That’s when the driver passed out behind the wheel. Their head fell backwards, and their hands fell to their side.
Meanwhile, the car continued to hurdle down the roadway at a rapid speed.
Frank pressed on the brake pedal, steered the car out of traffic, and brought it to a stop. All this while talking to the 911 operator.
Once the authorities were on their way, the teenager turned his attention to calming the younger students. One of them asked to use his cell phone to call their parents, while the others just needed to be calmed and told everything was alright.
“It didn’t seem that complicated. In my head I planned out a few simple steps. I didn’t think it would be that hard to execute them,” Frank said while speaking to CBS.
The teen was hailed as a hero for obvious reasons. But in reserved tones and topped with a drawl, the cool-under-pressure kid said he didn’t do anything special.
He says, if anything, it’s caused him to raise his own expectations of himself.
“It gives me an expectation to meet, in a good way. Now that eyes are on me, in a manner of speaking, I feel like I’ve got to represent myself,” Frank said.
For his heroism, Mayor Pruitt awarded him a key to the city.
“So, to answer that nagging question …” Mayor Pruitt says in his post. “Who better to give a Key to the City than the person who exemplifies the key to our greatness as a community.”
Frank says he hopes to join the military after he graduates from school, then pursue a career in the automotive industry.
He is at least peripherally familiar with the way busses work.