Something In The Air
The boy picked his head up in surprise. He sniffed the air. Something was smelling burnt. Nobody else seemed to notice.
His friends were laughing and chattering. He felt nauseous as he watched the bus driver grip the steering wheel tightly.
They had been driving for ten minutes already. There was no getting off the bus now.
It was an ordinary Wednesday afternoon at precisely 3 PM when 10-year-old Trevor Baskins found himself on the school bus, trundling through the quaint streets of his sleepy town Pinegrove in Sacramento.
He was a disciplined boy who stuck to his routine.
Little did he know that this seemingly routine ride home would soon turn into a spine-tingling experience he would never forget.
The Drive Home
The normal afternoon turned into a heart-pounding ordeal for young Trevor as he embarked on his daily school bus journey home.
He sat in his usual spot, the second row from the front.
While scrolling on his iPad, he was distracted by a strong smell hitting his nostrils. It got his attention and he didn’t know then that his quick thinking and bravery would make him the hero of the hour.
Right On Time
It was precisely 3 PM when the 10-year-old Trevor settled into his seat, gazing out the window as the school bus trundled through the familiar streets of Pinegrove.
Everything appeared to be routine until Trevor detected a peculiar and increasingly potent odor emanating from the front of the bus.
Frowning in concern, he leaned forward and whispered to his seatmate, Lily.
As Trevor gazed out the window, daydreaming about his favorite video game, he began to notice a strange, unsettling odor emanating from the front of the bus.
It was a smell unlike anything he had ever encountered before – a pungent and acrid scent that seared his nostrils.
He furrowed his brow, wondering if anyone else on the bus noticed it.
Can You Smell It
Trevor glanced around and observed his fellow passengers.
Some were engaged in animated conversations, while others were lost in their thoughts, oblivious to the ominous aroma permeating the bus.
As he shifted uncomfortably in his seat, the smell intensified, causing his heart to race. It didn’t seem right. Did his friend Lily suspect anything strange?
Through The Air
He turned to her and said, “Did you smell that, Lily? Something’s not right,” Trevor said, his voice trembling with unease.
The 11-year-old girl nodded her head in agreement.
Lily wrinkled her nose and nodded, sharing Trevor’s uneasiness. They exchanged worried glances as the smell continued to intensify, hanging heavily in the air like an ominous cloud.
A Strong Smell
Before the children could discuss the smell, suddenly, the bus suddenly jerked forward. The passengers were jolted in their seats.
Panic filled the bus as children tumbled forward, books and backpacks flying through the air.
Trevor gripped the seat in front of him, his knuckles turning white, as he looked to the front of the bus. What was happening?
A Moment Of Horror
As tension mounted among the young passengers, their anxiety reached its peak when the bus jerked once again, causing several children to stumble and cry out in surprise once again.
Trevor’s heart raced as he looked to the front of the bus, where the bus driver, Carla Mitchell, was struggling to regain control.
Something was wrong with the bus.
The bus lady, Mrs. Mitchell, was frantically trying to regain control of the vehicle. Her face was a mask of fear and confusion. The bus was swaying from lane to lane as she tried to regain control of it.
Her hands trembled as they gripped the steering wheel, and her foot hovered over the brake pedal.
The screeching sound of rubber against asphalt echoed through the bus.
The terrified bus driver looked at her student passengers through the rear-view mirror.
Her eyes were as wide as saucers. “Everybody, sit down, okay?” she stammered, her voice trembling.
“Everyone, stay in your seats! I’ve got this under control!” Carla shouted, her voice slurred and eyes unfocused as she swayed unsteadily to the side of the road.
The children were not paying attention to her. They were all screaming and looking out the window trying to see what had happened.
She tried to control her passengers but it was impossible.
Trevor’s attention was no longer on her. The bizarre smell had become overpowering, nearly suffocating him. He knew he had to do something, and fast.
Cause For Concern
Trevor reached into his backpack and pulled out his emergency cell phone, a gift from his parents for situations just like this.
His trembling fingers dialed 911, and he held the phone to his ear, his heart pounding in his chest.
“911, what’s your emergency?” a calm voice on the other end of the line asked.
Calling For Help
The boy was stuck for words and didn’t know what to say at first. Then his voice kicked in. “Hello, my name is Trevor, I’m a student at Pinegrove Middle School,”
“There’s something wrong with my school bus!” Trevor blurted out, his voice quivering.
“We stopped suddenly, and there’s a weird smell, and the bus driver looks scared!”
The dispatcher reassured Trevor and asked for his location. As he provided the details, the bus lady continued her attempts to regain control of the situation.
She asked Trevor questions about the bus driver and if they had been in an accident.
The smell grew stronger, and Trevor began to cough, tears welling up in his eyes.
Trevor knew something was terribly wrong, which is why he had to act fast.
His heart pounded in his chest as he gripped the phone tightly; his fingers trembled with fear and determination.
The operator’s voice filled his ear, and he stammered, “Th-the bus number is 214, and we’re on Elm Street. Our driver is acting really weird!”
A Terrified Boy
Trevor couldn’t help it as tears spilled from his eyes. The bus was swaying from side to side, and the children were still struggling to get up and sit down on their seats.
Trevor looked around, watching as his classmates sobbed around him.
“Please, please help us,” He cried into the phone. When he looked up at the bus driver, she was still gripping the wheel, trying to stop the bus from dangerously swaying through the streets.
Keeping Him Calm
The operator was kind and knew she was dealing with children. “Stay on the line with me,” the dispatcher instructed Trevor. “O-okay,” He cried, rubbing his hands over his eyes.
“Tell me what’s going on. Is the bus driver okay?” The operator spoke in a soothing voice, trying to call the boy down. He was clearly in a state, and the operator knew the importance of calming him.
He tried his best to swallow his tears and explain the situation to the operator, but he was struggling. “Our bus driver, Mrs. Mitchell, I think she’s lost control of the bus,” He tried to explain in between sobs.
“Okay honey, and what is the bus doing? Are you still moving?” The operator questioned, quickly typing the information into her computer.
Help Is On The Way
“The bus is swaying all over the road, and it’s going really fast. Mrs. Mitchell looks confused. She’s struggling to speak,” He explained, trying to stop the tears from pouring, but they just kept coming.
“Okay. Help is on the way. You hang tight, we’re going to help you, alright?” Trevor nodded, his breaths coming in shallow gasps.
Stay On The Phone
“Just stay on the phone with me and let me know what’s going on, alright?” She spoke gently to the boy. He responded with a small “Okay.”
The seconds felt like hours as he listened to the dispatcher’s soothing voice on the other end of the line. Meanwhile, Mrs. Mitchell was still desperately trying to control the bus. It was a miracle that they hadn’t hit any other cars yet.
She looked at the children through her rearview mirror. From where he was sitting, Trevor could see the woman’s eyes. An unsettling feeling bubbled within him as he watched her eyes occasionally drift closed for a few seconds at a time.
What on earth was going on? He couldn’t tell if she was passing out or falling asleep. He had to tell the operator.
Something Is Wrong
Trevor’s young mind tried to unravel what was happening before him. From the looks of things, it seemed like Mrs. Mitchell was either sick.
Trevor had heard about one of his uncles who had driven while very sick. He’d ended up veering to the side of the road. Although he wasn’t harmed in any way, the consequences of his actions were great. Was that what was happening here?
Is She Sick
Trevor needed to know if the driver was sick. Did she take something that had compromised her body in one way or another? Did she miss taking a pill or shot, and now her body was shutting down?
The little boy was worried out of his head, trying to figure out what was going on. “I think she’s sick,” he said into the phone. There was no way this would end well for him and his fellow students.
Her Eyes Keep Closing
“Ma’am,” He said in between choppy breaths, “I think something is terribly wrong with Mrs. Mitchell. Her eyes keep closing. I think she’s sick,” He cried.
“Okay,” The operator said, trying her best not to sound too panicked over the phone, “I’m going to need you to speak to her, okay? Keep her awake and see if you can get her to pull over, alright?” She instructed.
Are You Still There?
But how could Trevor do that? He pressed his phone against his ear and started across the bus, eager to get to the front. “Are you still there, ma’am?” he asked the operator.
He was swaying from side to side, struggling not to fall over. “Yes, I’m here. Don’t worry,” the operator answered. “I am going to check on the driver,” Trevor reported. But then the call cut off.
The Phone Dies
Trevor looked at his phone with wide eyes. He thought the call had been canceled when, in reality, his phone’s battery had died off. He’d rarely charged the gadget since, as his emergency phone, he rarely used it.
It also didn’t help that his mom always asked him to charge the phone every Sunday night. Trevor couldn’t remember the last time he’d plugged the gadget into a charger. He’d have to suffer the consequences now.
I Need To Help
Panic shot through Trevor. His breath hitched, and beads of sweat started forming on his forehead. “I need to help Mrs. Mitchell,” he whispered to ground himself.
His dad had always told him that when scared or in doubt, to focus on one thing. “Sharpen your mind and focus on that one thing until you make it through,” he’d always say. Today, Trevor would see how true these words were.
With new resolve pumping through him, mixing with adrenaline and the waning fear, Trevor made it to the front of the bus. “Mrs. Mitchell,” he called. Was she okay?
The bus was still zigzagging all over the highway, its engine roaring each time Mrs. Mitchell stepped on the accelerator. When would this nightmare come to an end?
Everyone’s In Trouble
The closer Trevor got to Mrs. Mitchell, the more he noticed everyone was in trouble. At the start, he’d thought she was sick. But as he got closer, he realized that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Mrs. Mitchell, who seemed sickly at first, was completely fine now. Her eyes were focused on the blurred road ahead as the bus weaved through traffic. She stepped on the gas and laughed. What was she doing?
They Lock Eyes
Trevor didn’t know what to make of the situation. He’d been worried that the bus driver was terribly sick and needed help.
He thought she’d forgotten to take something like an insulin shot and was suffering through the throes. But now, he didn’t know what to infer from the scene before him. He was still lost in thought when the woman’s eyes locked with his.
A Sinister Fire
There was a sinister fire within Mrs. Mitchell’s eyes as she stared at Trevor through the rearview mirror. She cracked a smile, seemingly remembering that she needed her eyes on the road.
Trevor had never witnessed such a chilling sight before. He took a step back, plopping back down and trying to turn on his phone. He hoped, with everything within him, that the gadget would comply.
It took three tries for the phone to power back on. By then, the operator had tried calling Trevor back a couple of times. He was about to call back when the phone rang.
It was the operator. Trevor wasted no time answering. But he didn’t even get a word through before the gadget died off again. It was quickly becoming clear that it fell to him to handle this situation.
With his heart thundering in his ears, Trevor neared the driver again. He tried not to recall the look she’d given him earlier. What if she was doing this intentionally?
What if she was taking him and his fellow students somewhere they’d never see the light of day again? What if she didn’t mean them any good? What if she wasn’t a good person? Trevor whimpered.
Up To No Good
Trevor hadn’t stopped to consider that Mrs. Mitchell wasn’t up to no good before. The bad smell had blanketed every corner of the bus now, punctuating the eerie thought that the woman was up to no good.
The fear that had taken Trevor before doubled. But so did his resolve and focus. Before, he’d wanted to help Mrs. Mitchell, to make sure she was alright. Now, she wanted to help his schoolmates.
His Dad’s Advice
Trevor’s dad had always told him to focus on one thing whenever things weren’t going as expected. Trevor was doing that now.
He got up from his seat, his fingers tight around the armrests as he walked back to the driver. He didn’t care if something bad would happen to him. All he wanted was to ensure the bus came to a stop safely. That is what his mind had narrowed down on.
You Need To Be Seated
Trevor went to the driver, eager to ascertain what was happening. He expected her to give him a dirty look as before, but this time, he was met with a smile.
“You need to be seated,” she answered. “I don’t want you to fall over and hurt yourself.” But there was something wrong with the way she talked. “Sit down, okay?” she repeated, but Trevor would not listen.
Double Or Nothing
“I need to know that everything is alright,” he said defiantly, and the woman looked at him twice before her brows furrowed.
“Yes,” she said, seemingly unsure of her answer. “Everything’s fine. Now sit down.” But she wasn’t about to get rid of Trevor that easily. With a good grip on the seats to stop him from wobbling about, Trevor doubled down.
Help was on its way, but until they got there, Trevor had to try and save himself and his classmates. “Mrs. Mitchell,” he called again and watched as the woman opened her eyes once again, the bus still swaying and jerking as they drove.
“I’m getting help, but you need to stop the bus. We have to pull to the side of the road,” He spoke loudly.
She glanced at him in the mirror. He instantly recognized the confusion in her eyes. It was like she had no idea what was going on. He tried again, repeating the same words to her until she nodded.
It took a lot of effort, but as she pushed her foot into the brakes, the bus finally began slowing down, although it was still swaying from side to side.
Keeping Her Awake
Trevor continued to speak to his teacher, doing everything in his power to keep her awake. The smell was still thick in the air, making it feel like he couldn’t breathe. He wondered if this had something to do with the woman’s sudden change in behavior.
The operator had managed to get on the phone with another student, who brought the phone to Trevor. They guided the little boy through the ordeal as he spoke to the disoriented woman.
“Is she pulled off to the side of the road?” She asked through the phone. Trevor’s heart was thumping rapidly in his chest, “She’s trying to,” He said.
Meanwhile, as he was speaking to the operator, Mrs. Mitchell managed to pull the bus to the side of the road. As the bus came to a stop next to the busy road, she kids all glanced at each other, scared and confused.
The smell had become overwhelming, and although the bus had now pulled off on the side of the road, he was still terrified of the smell. All he wanted was to go home and give his parents a hug.
Nothing this scary had ever happened to him before. “Is everything alright? It sounds a lot quieter,” The operator spoke.
Waiting For Help
As Trevor relayed critical information, a collective hush fell over the bus. His peers waited and watched outside. A few other drivers stopped next to the bus to see what happened.
Trevor held the phone in his hand. The operator assured him that help was close, but time felt like an eternity as the minutes ticked by. Would they find them in time?
When Trevor looked up at the bus lady, she was slumped in her seat, her eyes shut and her mouth wide open. She looked like she had fallen asleep. He wondered if the smell in the air had something to do with it.
He gave the operator this information, completely unaware that the bus lady had done this to herself.
They Found Us
Finally, the distant wail of sirens pierced the air, growing steadily louder. Relief washed over Trevor as he heard the approaching rescue. Help was nearby.
“I can hear sirens, I think they’re here to help us,” He told the dispatcher, who confirmed that help had in fact arrived on the scene. He told the children around him as Mrs. Mitchell opened her eyes once again.
Help Is Here
Within minutes, firefighters and paramedics arrived on the scene, their flashing lights and urgent voices filling the air.
They quickly assessed the situation, checking the bus’s ventilation system and evacuating the children to safety.
Trevor was one of the first to step off the bus, his heart still racing. It was a relief to breathe some fresh air. The children waited on the pavement for further instruction.
More sirens wailed in the distance, growing louder with each passing second. There was a detective on the way to take a report. It was a serious issue as so many children were involved.
A police cruiser pulled up behind the halted bus, and Officer Ramirez approached Carla Mitchell, who was still sitting in the bus with glassy eyes.
More To This
Officer Ramirez was strict and solemn. She didn’t have time for any games. She jumped onto the bus. It was just her and Mrs. Mitchell alone on the bus.
“Ma’am, I need you to step out of the vehicle,” Officer Ramirez instructed firmly, a hint of concern in his voice.
The bus driver swallowed suspiciously and slowly moved out of her seat.
Mrs. Mitchell was clearly out of it as she tried to get out of her seat. It took a few attempts, but eventually, the woman managed to step out of her seat. She stood on wobbly legs, struggling to keep her eyes open.
Officer Ramirez stepped out a second later, observing the woman closely. Something was up.
A Rude Woman
Carla swayed dangerously as she exited the bus. Was she disorientated from the vehicle issue? Officer Ramirez thought that something was wrong, her breath smelled funny. “Ma’am, are you alright?”
But when Mrs. Mitchell slurred on her words, she thought she knew what the issue was. She administered a sobriety test.
Trevor, still clutching his phone, watched in awe and relief as the officer’s expression shifted from concern to stern disbelief. Carla blew into a small device and waited.
Carla had failed the test – she was intoxicated. She had been drinking before she got onto the bus and put all of their lives in danger.
As firefighters investigated the source of the mysterious odor, Trevor was interviewed by the authorities. The boy said, “The smell was burning my nose,” and held his hand over his face.
He recounted the events leading up to his call to 911, his voice unwavering as he detailed the unsettling smell and the bus’s abrupt jerking. The emergency responders praised his quick thinking and courage.
The officers at the scene inspected the bus. They opened the hood, and everything was fine.
They checked the wheels and everything was also fine. But the burning smell was still prevalent in the bus.
It was only when they called the mechanic to inspect, that they discovered it was from the brakes. She had hit the brakes so hard that they burned and wore away at the tire.
The gravity of the situation was now apparent to everyone on the bus. Mrs. Mitchell had taken a huge risk by drinking while driving.
She was careless and selfish, and she was not going to get away with what she had done. The officers then began calling the children’s parents to pick them up.
Children whispered anxiously to one another, and Trevor’s hands trembled as he relayed the developments to the 911 operator. The officer placed Carla under arrest, ensuring the safety of the children aboard.
As she was helped into the back of the police car, Trevor sighed in relief, knowing that something like this wouldn’t happen again any time soon.
Safe And Sound
With Carla in custody, another bus driver arrived on the scene to safely escort the children to their respective homes. They were happy to be over with the whole ordeal.
It was now past 5 p.m. and the children and their parents were frantic with worry.
Trevor watched as the backup driver guided the bus away from the chaos that had unfolded.
Our Little Hero
News of Trevor’s quick thinking and bravery quickly spread through Pinegrove earning him accolades from his schoolmates and teachers alike.
He became even more popular just for being vigilant.
His parents, overcome with pride, hugged him tightly when they finally reunited at home. But would this issue change anything about the American school transportation system?
In response to this harrowing incident, the school district wasted no time implementing new safety measures.
They had a few alternatives to monitor the children’s transport which was a buddy system.
Effective immediately, a backup driver would accompany each school bus on its afternoon route, ensuring the safety of every child on board. Was this an effective remedy for addicted adults?
Today, Pinegrove School celebrates Trevor Baskins, the young hero who, when faced with danger, rose to the occasion and averted a potential tragedy. He became a poster boy for health and safety in his youth.
To this day, the town stands united in gratitude for his courage, reminding us all that heroes can emerge from the unlikeliest of places, even a school bus ride home.
Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.