Kristina Buhrman – an eighth-grade math teacher and substitute bus driver at Discovery Academy in Lake Alfred, Florida – told CNN she was just doing her job when she saved 38 middle school students from a burning bus.
While she was driving the bus towards school, she noticed smoke was coming from it, but at first didn’t think anything of it. That is, until one student in the back of the bus screamed:
“Ms. Buhrman, there’s smoke coming out of my seat.”
Not a second later, she sprung into action, pulling over the bus and evacuating all of the students.
“Once I got them off the bus, then I moved them down, and there was a ravine down there or like a drainage ditch, so I had to try to get them into a straight line to get them across the drainage ditch without falling into the drainage ditch,” she said.
The evacuation occurred just in time – the bus burst into flames as the last students were de-boarding bus.
Buhrman recalls that every kid that got off the bus said thank you to her.
As she drove home later that day, she passed by the singed bus as it was being loaded onto the tow truck.
“That’s when it hit me. Hard… That could have been really bad. It could have been horribly bad,” she said.
But she knows that she couldn’t have done what she did with a little help. She told CNN:
“After the bus fire, I had received a call saying that a photographer had taken a picture of the bus and they said when I was ready I could view it. So I opened it up, and there was a picture of a rainbow over the bus; however, it wasn’t raining… I immediately started crying because like I knew that we were being taken care of.”
Buhrman talked about her motivation behind her actions — “We’re put in certain places, and if we’re not helping other people, what are we on earth for?”