As a teen boy was bolting from a bus, the driver noticed something out of the corner of her eye. The quick observation caused her to grab onto the kid, stopping him from exiting the bus and thrusting her into the spotlight as the ordeal was caught on video.
Samantha Call was driving a school bus in upstate New York when she came to the stop for 13-year-old Matthew Squires. Matt attempted to quickly bolt out the bus door as soon as it opened, but in a split second, Samantha saw something that caused her to reach out and grab the boy by his shirt, stopping him from exiting the vehicle — a life-changing decision for both of them.
The incident was captured on video by the bus’s surveillance camera, and the footage was later posted to the Norwich City School District’s Facebook page, where it quickly garnered a lot of attention for good reason. The clip capturing Samantha’s quick-thinking shows the exact moment tragedy was avoided and serves as an important reminder for all other drivers.
Captioned “Touched by an Angel,” the clip captured the heart-stopping moment a student’s life was at risk all because a driver either failed to pay attention or deliberately decided to ignore the bus. Luckily, Samantha Call made a life-saving grab just as she was about to release the teen from the bus filled with students, who would have been forced to witness a horrific ordeal if not for her fast thinking.
“This is exactly why you should NEVER pass a school bus when the stop arm is out and the red lights are flashing!” the caption to the video read. “Watch the six-year NCSD driver stop a student just short of disaster, grabbing the boy from behind as a car whizzes by the open school bus doors.”
Samantha Call clasped onto the back of Matthew Squires’ sweatshirt, successfully stopping him as a car, ignoring her bus’s lights and stop arm meant to halt traffic, recklessly zoomed by. “Here comes a silver car on the side. Matt is probably the third step down now and all I could think of was Matt is going to get hurt, so I just pull him,” Samantha recalled.
Samantha has since been hailed a hero for preventing Matt from getting plowed down by the careless driver — and rightfully so. Had this bus driver not been paying attention, there’s little doubt Matt would have suffered tragic consequences. But, Samantha’s quick-thinking successfully rescued the student from being fatally struck by the passing vehicle while also reminding others that you should never pass a bus when its red lights are flashing.
After the passing car sped by the bus, only missing Matt due to Samantha’s efforts, a female passenger exclaimed, “That was a good grab!” commending the bus driver for the life-saving move. Meanwhile, Samantha honked her horn at the car’s driver, who had ignored her bus’s warning lights and stop arm.
That passenger, of course, wasn’t the only one impressed with or grateful for Samantha’s quick reflexes. “The last thing I remember was getting yanked back and the car flying by,” Matt recalled. After being shown the video, his parents are also praising the woman who saved their son’s life as did William Loomis, the transportation supervisor for the school district.
“She did amazing. She prevented a tragedy,” Loomis said. “I told her, ‘That young boy went home this morning because of you,'” he added. Knowing that this close call was completely avoidable, however, Loomis decided to release the footage, not only to praise the bus driver but to also sound a crucial alert. “We want to bring awareness,” Loomis explained.
“All of our drivers undergo continuous training so they’re prepared to handle situations like this,” Loomis said. “We hope this video helps everyone to realize the dangers of passing a stopped school bus.” Loomis also said he reported the incident to the Chenango County Sheriff’s Office, but the driver of the passing vehicle had not yet been located.
Before the video was posted, Loomis shared the footage with Matt’s parents, who were deeply affected by the thought their son only narrowly escaped being hit by the careless driver. “They were very emotional,” Loomis admitted. “It was very alarming for them to see how close this was to being a tragedy. And, they were very thankful for the bus driver.”
“I cried. I honestly cried,” Matt’s mother, Christina Beardsley, said. “If she hadn’t had been so vigilant and looking behind her bus because no one really thinks of someone coming on the door side of the bus,” she continued. “It’s a big yellow school bus. Its lights are on. Its doors are opening. The stop sign is out. I mean, you are supposed to stop for the bus,” she added. “I’m just really grateful that she has quick reflexes and she was able to grab him in time.”
As for the hero in question, Samantha isn’t worried about accolades. Instead, she shudders to think what would have happened if she hadn’t reached out in time, and like Loomis, she is just hoping the video will raise awareness for other drivers who don’t know the importance of obeying the law.
“It’s got to get out there. It’s got to stop. People have to pay attention to this,” Samantha Call said. “I’m so glad I was able to send him home to his mom ’cause I don’t know if I could have gotten back on that bus had I not been able to. I don’t think I could ever touch a school bus again.”