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March 1, 2012

I have written about many everyday heroes in this space, about Congressional Medal of Honor winners, about a program that helps wounded warriors, and even about a black bear. This is my first posting about a soccer mom.

Rhonda Carlsen was doing something she does most days: waiting with her daughters at the school bus stop. But on February 13, 2012, Rhonda’s usual wait at the school bus stop went from the normal and mundane to the heart-pounding and adrenaline-boosting – and to the potentially deadly. When the school bus rolled past the mothers and their children, not stopping as was usual, one of Rhonda’s daughters shouted that there was something wrong on the bus. The bus driver appeared to be in distress, and the screaming and shouting children on board were terrified.

Running alongside the bus, Rhonda saw there was indeed something wrong with the driver. He seemed to be having a seizure. She hammered on the vehicle door but was unable to get it open. She shouted to a third-grader seated at the front of the bus and pointed at the door opening mechanism. The child got the message and cranked open the door of the moving bus. Rhonda,  running alongside, leaped onto the vehicle and switched off its ignition, bringing it to a stop.

Rhonda’s quick thinking and willingness to take action with no concern for her own safety more than likely prevented multiple injuries and even death.

As with most everyday heroes, Rhonda downplays her own actions and gives credit to the third-grader who opened the bus door to allow her to get on board. But a lot of children and parents owe her their lifelong gratitude for taking action, risking her own safety, and doing what everyday heroes do: putting others first.

Mom, 3rd-Graders Stop Runaway School Bus

Mom Saves Bus Full of Kids After Terrifying Event

Joseph Badal is the author of the suspense novels  The Pythagorean Solution, Terror CellThe Nostradamus Secret and Evil Deeds.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 2, 2012 8:36 am

    What a wonderful story, really moved me! You’re so right, everyday heroes like Rhonda do make one hell of a difference. Without them, we could never walk on the sunny side of the street…Thanks, Joseph, for reminding us of their essential role in our daily lives…

  2. Candace George Thompson permalink
    March 2, 2012 8:53 am

    What a fantasic story! Thanks for publicizing this act of smarts, skill and courage.

  3. Anne Beckett permalink
    March 3, 2012 8:35 am

    Joe: Thanks for showcasing yet another “ordinary” person doing something heroic. It reminds us that so-called ordinary people do extraordinary things every day – and seldom receive public recognition for it. Instead our media focuses on people behaving badly. I believe the capacity to act selflessly lies within all of us and only I hope I have what it takes to rise the occasion when necessary. Anne

  4. HARRY SMECK permalink
    April 1, 2012 2:36 pm

    The immediate reaction……discerning what needed to be done, doing it, then staying with it until the kids were safe. A hero who saved lives. Kudos to that courageous Mom! And thanks to Joe for letting us know her story of action and courage. hs

  5. Rhonda Carlsen permalink
    February 13, 2013 8:47 am

    Joe: My sister calls me and asked “have you ever googled your name?” I had before a year ago today and saw nothing out of the ordinary. I’m that ordinary mom who helped in a time of need. I think being married to a firefighter helps some but I know many would have done the same thing I did that what makes this world go round!
    I googled my name today and read your post and I just want to say ” thank you” for the kind words…I’m humbled.
    Rhonda Carlsen

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