A busload of high school students are being praised for handling a frightening emergency situation that could have escalated into much more than it did.
One student in particular is being called a hero. But 14-year-old Matt Stauffer from Carbon County, Pennsylvania insists he just did what he “thought was right.”
“I wasn’t really thinking, I was just acting. Just doing what I thought was right,” Stauffer told news station WNEP.
When Stauffer got on the bus around 7:30 a.m., he immediately noticed something was different. The worried looks on the other students’ faces led the teen to find a horrifying sight.
“They were all looking up at the bus driver and I turned around and saw he was slumped over,” Stauffer told Times News.
“The only thing holding him up at that point was his seat belt,” he continued. The quick-thinking 14-year-old sprung into action.
He noticed the driver’s foot was on the gas pedal, revving the engine. Stauffer knew it was up to him to act in that moment.
“I reached up, turned the bus off, and then I put the keys in my pocket. No one else could get them,” Stauffer explained to WNEP.
He then says he told the other students to evacuate and call 911. Superintendent Dr. Brian Gasper is proud of Stauffer and his fellow students.
“Last week we just did bus evacuation drills, so we do have a process and procedures and we do go through that with every bus,” Gasper explained to BRC TV.
Gasper and the entire school administration are pleased with how calmly the students reacted in a crisis situation.
Stauffer explained to Times News that the bus driver is a good guy. “Every day he picks us up, he says good morning and tells us to have a great day,” the teen said.
Stauffer’s mom, Patty Stauffer, tweeted that she “couldn’t be more proud of him.” We’re proud of him, too, and hope the bus driver will recover from this ordeal soon.