Bus drivers are often forgotten members of society, performing a thankless task of transporting other people’s children to school and back, day after day.
But for those who can see it, school bus drivers are our children’s guardian angels during those bus rides, and they take on a necessary and difficult job. It’s not easy driving around a bus load of kids, keeping them safe and calm.
That’s what makes people like David Cooke so special.
A school bus driver from Crosby, Texas, Cooke loves his job and takes it very seriously.
Cooke had been transporting kids on the bus for the last six years, and he would pick up and drop off about 150 kids a day. Incredibly, he knows them all by name.
“Good morning, Peyton!” Cooke exclaims as the boy climbs the top step of the bus.
Most days pass by without incident. The kids normally behave themselves when “Mr. Cooke” is behind the wheel, and he does his best to stay cheerful and keep them entertained. Over the intercom system, Cooke is known to crack jokes and ask kids how their day at school went.
But one day in 2015, a routine drop off turned into a heated altercation for bus number 74.
According to KHOU, while Cooke was dropping kids off from school, a woman who was behaving strangely attempted to board the bus.
After Cooke politely told the woman she couldn’t come aboard, her behavior became erratic and violent.
“She looked angry. She looked at me and she said ‘I’m going to bite you.’ And her eyes were about two inches in diameter it seemed at the time. And she was flailing her arms around,” Cooke said.
The kids on the bus remained calm throughout the incident, which was all caught on surveillance video.
Cooke was worried things were going to escalate, and wanted the kids to be safe from harm. He leaned over to a boy sitting in the front row and told him which button to press to close the door once he was able to remove the woman from the bus.
With the help of a parent who was also at the scene, Cooke was able to forcibly move the woman from the bus steps.
She was later taken into custody and sent to the hospital, according to KHOU.
“The reason one parent said their kid wasn’t scared was because Mr. Cooke was here. And that makes you feel good,” Cooke said with a proud smile.
“He did exactly what every parent would want their school bus driver to do to keep their kids safe. So I’m very thankful for Mr. Cooke,” one mom told ABC13 News.