There are numerous roles for those who work in public education. Teachers, administrators, the school nurse, they all serve a purpose. One job that is overlooked too often is the bus driver.
Transporting the kids to and from school safely and on time is just as important as any other function in the school system. Bus drivers may not get the same credit that other roles do, but they care about the students just as much.
Kids at Red Cliffs Elementary School in Utah wanted their bus driver Steve Peterson to know that they care about him, too. Peterson was badly injured in a wreck earlier this fall while he was driving the bus.
His quick reactions saved the children on the bus from serious injury, and possibly even death. Consequently, Peterson caught the brunt of the collision and was hospitalized.
While driving down the highway, a trailer swung out of its lane and side-swiped the school bus.
The tractor-trailer was being pulled by a large pickup truck that was attempting to switch lanes when it lost control. Peterson did his best to swerve out of the way, and he likely saved the lives of the children.
Because the bus took an indirect blow, none of the kids were seriously injured. There were a few broken bones, but nothing that will cause any long-term damage.
However, Peterson was in bad shape after the collision. Debris from the crash came flying through the windshield and gave him significant injuries.
There were lacerations on his face, as well as extensive damage to his nose and left eye. He remained in the hospital for several weeks while undergoing several surgeries.
Bus driver Steve Peterson was able to swerve and avoid a direct impact, saving the lives of the kids on board.
Once Peterson was released from the hospital, the kids who were on the bus wanted to pay him a special thank you. Students and faculty made signs and waited for him outside of the school.
Peterson was driven to the school, still bandaged but in good spirits while sitting in the passenger seat. The kids huddled around the car as he thanked them.
“We’re just grateful for Steve and all that he did and keeping that bus upright and making sure all our kids stayed safe, and they are all back in school and doing well and they’re healthy,” Richard Pay, principal at Red Cliffs Elementary School said to the Desert News.
“We are extremely grateful for him. To us, Steve is a true hero to our kids and our schools.”
Peterson has not issued a statement on the incident, but his son Brad says the love from the kids lifted his spirits.
Peterson will likely need to undergo several more surgeries to repair his nose and reduce scarring on his face. Fundraising efforts have been launched to help fund his medical costs.
For now, the bus driver is focused on his recovery and trying to find some normalcy in his day-to-day life. But his son, Brad, says that the visit with the kids has done wonders for his spirits.
“It really opened his eyes up too, I think, to see how much the kids cared for him, and how important bus drivers really are here to these kids,” Brad told KSL.com. “It was awesome to see that.”