Photo: Courtesy of Graceanne Rumer
The Teenager Who Saved the School Bus
As 17-year-old Graceanne Rumer stepped onto the school bus home from Calvary Christian Academy in Philadelphia one January afternoon, all she could think about was how exhausted she was. She knew she had to study for upcoming midterms, but she wished she could just go to sleep for a while.
Barely five minutes had gone by when Rumer suddenly realized, "Oh my gosh, the driver fell over." The driver had passed out at the wheel and the bus was careening out of control. Though she'd only started driving a couple of weeks before, Rumer knew she had to do something. There were dozens of kids on the bus, some of them only in first grade. She rushed forward, grabbed hold of the wheel and steered the bus to the side of the road, pulling a U-turn to guide it out of oncoming traffic. "I couldn't reach the brake pedal because the bus driver was right in front of me," says Rumer, now a student at Penn State University. "I just put it in park. The bus stopped right before hitting the guardrails."
The significance of what Rumer had done didn't fully register until she spoke with the family members of the students she'd saved. "The parents there—some of them had three kids on the bus. They were all hugging me." Rumer remains humble about her feat despite the kudos she's received. "A lot of it was just a big miracle. I don't consider myself heroic in the least."