Graceann Rumer had started driving herself to school. But on the day she decided to take the bus again, she became a hero.
Posted in , Feb 10, 2012
I remember when I passed my driver’s test, way back in the day. First thing I did was to pick up my friend and drive the 25 minutes to our other friend’s house. Then we all went out to T.G.I. Friday's for chicken fingers.
Graceann Rumer, a 17-year-old from Philadelphia, had a quite different experience during one of her first trips on the open road.
Graceann passed her driving test in January and received her license. She immediately began driving herself to school each morning. No more getting up super-early to wait at the bus stop, no more squeezing into a big yellow box as it wound through the city picking up kids on its way to Calvary Christian Academy.
She’d driven herself to school for more than a week—then one morning she woke up early and decided to take the bus again.
About three dozen students were on the bus as it headed for a busy intersection in Northeast Philadelphia. All of a sudden, Graceann heard a loud sound. She looked toward the front of the bus and saw that the driver had collapsed between the steering column and the seat. He had suffered a massive heart attack, and his body was blocking access to the bus’s brakes.
As the bus sped out of control, no one at the front knew what to do. Some were just beginning driver’s ed. None of them had their license yet.
Nobody, that is, except for Graceann.
One thing they teach in driver’s ed is what to do if the brakes don’t work. Graceann ran to the front of the bus, grabbed the wheel and steered toward a muddy ditch at the side of the road. Then she shifted into park and turned the engine off. The bus came to a stop mere feet from the intersection.
“I usually panic at, like, everything,” Graceann told NBC Philadelphia. She said she wasn’t a hero, just in the right place at the right time.
I don’t know why Graceann rode the bus that day. Maybe her mom needed to use the car. Maybe she missed riding to school with her friends (in Pennsylvania, new drivers can’t drive other teens until they’re nearly 18).
But whatever the reason—what were the chances that she would be on the bus that morning, to save her classmates from a horrific accident?
The bus driver didn’t survive his heart attack. But in the moments after the near disaster, many of the students comforted the younger children and bonded together in prayer. A prayer for the bus driver and his family. But also a prayer of thanks for their safety.
Have you encountered a Mysterious Ways story in your town? Have you been in the right place at the right time and, despite the odds, saved a life or performed an act of heroism? Share your story with us at [email protected]. We'd love to share it with our readers.