In September 2016, Maryland bus driver Renita Smith was dropping off her last batch of students for the day on her evening route.
Everything was totally normal. That is, until Renita made it to her third stop and noticed her brake light began flashing.
Before she knew it, the students could smoke in the back of the bus. By the time Renita picked up the phone to call the transportation center, the bus had caught fire.
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With the help of her maternal instincts and quick-thinking, Renita led the kids — who ranged in age from 4 to 10 — into a single-file line. Then, she safely got the students off the bus just in time, before it burst into flames in a residential neighborhood.
Renita, a single mother of two, had already gone above and beyond her duties. She could have stopped right there, assumed all the students made it off the bus, and left it at that. But instead, Renita ran back into the burning vehicle and risked her own life to make sure every child made it safely off of the bus
All 20 students were safe and accounted for.
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Of course, the students’ parents are eternally grateful and forever indebted to Renita. She was hailed a hometown hero at multiple pep rallies and award ceremonies.
“It’s my job,” she says. “They’re my babies until I give them back to you.”
Ellen Degeneres invited Renita on her show to tell the tell her incredible story. But when Ellen learned she lived paycheck-to-paycheck, she decided this was no way for a hero to live and raise her kids.
Watch the video below to see the shocking surprise in store for Renita. She definitely deserves it.
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