He heard a faint cry of distress from behind him and quickly turned to locate the source of the sorrowful sound.
He looked around the bus with his eyes until he saw it. And when he did, he felt a sense of despair. A boy was sitting in the back of the bus with his sleeves covering his face.
His chest was moving up and down rapidly as he tried to stifle his crying so that nobody would hear. But Tom had already heard him. What was the boy’s problem?
Then suddenly, Tom saw the little boy’s shoes, and a terrible feeling hit right in the pit of his stomach.
Starting a new school can be an extremely challenging time for any child. Children’s minds race at the thought of everything they may have to face; will they fit in? Will they find their new class on time? Will they make friends?
The unfamiliarity of it all can be daunting for anyone, let alone a child. But when 7-year-old Dale finished his first day at his new school, all his worst nightmares came true.
The first half of Dale’s first day at Holy Family Catholic School went off without a hitch. He nervously navigated the new hallways and classrooms and became familiar with his teachers and classmates. He even mustered up the courage to speak to the boy sitting next to him at recess.
Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad after all. But by the time school ended and it was time to go home, Dale had made an enormous mistake, and nothing was ever the same again.
The bell rang at 3:15, signaling that it was time to go home. Students chatted excitedly as they pushed and shoved their way out of the classrooms, eager to be released.
But Dale hung back and quietly waited for the rush to pass before he stepped a foot out the door.
At the entrance, he saw the big yellow bus waiting for him. Riding the bus by himself was a little scary for the 7-year-old, but his mom had gone through it with him before he left that morning, so he got on.
He had no idea what the ride had in store for him.
A few other kids were on the bus, but Dale didn’t recognize them. Feeling exposed and a little nervous, he walked right to the back and took a seat. He daydreamed as he watched the trees whipping by, knowing that he would be home soon.
But something unexpected was about to happen.
The few kids that were there got off the bus, and an elderly-looking man got on. He sat near the front of the bus, and his eyes traveled to Dale as soon as he sat down.
He sat staring at the little boy. What was his problem? Dale had no idea his life was about to get turned upside down.
When the clock struck 3:40, Dale’s mom began to worry. He should have been home 10 minutes ago already! She poured herself a cup of tea and tried to steady her nerves. Perhaps she was being paranoid. Maybe the bus had been delayed. Everything was fine, right?
She waited and watched the clock. It was his first day, after all. She knew her little boy would handle it all just fine. But she was so very wrong.
By the time 4 o’clock had rolled around, Dale’s mom was a nervous wreck. Surely something had happened? She got on the phone with the principal, and the startled mom told them that her son hadn’t come home.
The principal alerted the school’s emergency chat group, describing what Dale had been wearing that day and asking everyone to keep a lookout. But time was running out for Dale.
Twenty minutes passed, and then fifty. Dale didn’t remember the trip to school this morning taking so long. After an hour had passed, his stomach began to churn. This couldn’t be, right? Had he missed his stop?
The old man was still on the bus, and he was still staring at Dale. The little boy had no idea why he was staring, but suddenly the old man got up.
The old man moved closer until he sat a few seats away from Dale, his bloodshot eyes still focused on the 7-year-old. It was just him, the old man, and the bus driver on the bus, but Dale had never felt more alone.
He felt sick to his stomach. He just wanted to be home. But, unfortunately, this day was far from over.
Dale had been on the bus for a good hour now, and with each minute that passed, he felt more anxious and terrified. But when the bus pulled up to the school again, he knew something was very wrong.
His hands began to get clammy, and his heart raced, something the old man seemed to take delight in. Then, he saw three seniors board the bus. This was his only chance to get help.
Tom, a senior student at the Holy Family Catholic School in Liverpool, boarded the bus after basketball practice after school. He was accompanied by two of his friends, Harry and Dylan. They took their seats at the front of the bus and chatted excitedly.
It was their first day back at school after the December break. But none of the boys could have suspected how the day would end.
Tom’s phone buzzed, and he pulled it out of his pocket. When he saw the message, his brow furrowed in an expression of concern, but he continued to chat with his friends.
That’s when he heard a sob from the back of the bus. He turned to see an old man walk past him and get off. Then, he saw a devastated little boy sobbing into the sleeves of his parka at the back of the bus. What had happened?
He approached Dale and asked him what had upset him so much. Through the tears, Dale explained that he was new in the area and had gotten on the wrong bus.
To add to the boy’s anxiety, he had no cell phone and probably didn’t have enough money to get home. In fact, he didn’t even know where his home was! That’s when Tom noticed the tennis shoes with blue laces that the boy was wearing.
After listening to the little boy’s dilemma, Tom knew what he had to do. He pulled a fistful of notes out of his back pocket and gave them to the crestfallen boy.
Then, he told the bus driver to stop the bus. He pointed at Dale’s shoes and told him to keep the little boy on the bus while he got help. “It’s ok mate, don’t worry, you’ll be home soon,” he reassured Dale. Then, he pulled out his phone.
Tom, Harry, and Dylan began to search for taxi services on their phones. Bingo! They called the Delta taxi service and sent him their location.
And, just to make sure that Dale would be safe, they waited with him for the taxi to arrive. But none of the teens expected that they would go viral for their good deed.
Another student who had witnessed the incident posted the story on Facebook. “There really are some truly decent kids out there! All I know is his name is Tom, and he’s a year 11 pupil at Holy Family, so if anyone knows him or his parents, let them know what a lovely lad they’ve raised! Faith in humanity restored a little today.”
It wasn’t long before the story spread on social media like wildfire.
Harry Campbell’s mother, Colette, wrote: ‘Harry had told Dylan to ring the taxi to pick him up… to make sure he got home safe… God love him. This little fella was upset and had got on the wrong bus, and with it being his first day wouldn’t have known very many people either.”
But would the identity of the kind and considerate senior ever be uncovered?
After the story went viral, someone who knew Tom personally tagged his older sister, Katie O’Brien, in the post.
She replied: “Ahhh everyone, it was my little brother. I’ve just been tagged in this by a friend of mine. We are so proud of Tom, and it’s so lovely to know he’s a good lad in the outside world.”
“The school rang our mum and left a lovely message. All your comments are so so lovely. They’ve had us all close to tears. Tom will hate all the attention,” Katie added. She was super proud of her brother’s actions.
But would Dale ever repay Tom for what he did?
When Tom saw Dale at school the next day, he asked him how he was doing.
Dale replied by handing him his money back, explaining that the taxi driver had refused to take it. The taxi driver had been so moved by Dale’s tears that he decided to drive him home at no charge!
It wasn’t long before Tom’s act of kindness reached Matthew Syme, the head of the school. He was delighted that Tom and his friends had shown such compassion. “It is just lovely, and at the start of the year, it really sets the tone for everyone else,” he said.
Then, he made a comment about Tom’s character.
“Tom is an incredibly thoughtful and all-round good guy…. He was just pleased the boy had got home safe. He has set a great example in front of a whole bus of year sevens, who have all that worry and anxiety about the bigger kids.”
He also said that Tom’s good deed is an amazing example of how older pupils at the school are expected to look out for the younger ones.
And what does Tom think about all the attention? Well, he doesn’t think that what he did was a big deal, but his family thinks otherwise.
His sibling admitted that she and her family were proud of all three of the boys for helping, adding, “It is just so nice to see teenagers getting some good press for a change.”
Tom did an amazing job of saving Dale from a potentially harmful situation. But there’s another teen who also deserves to be recognized for what he did.
Jeremy Wuitschick saved the lives of at least sixteen people when their ride on the school bus turned into a journey gone wrong.
Jeremy was on the bus riding to school with a few of his fellow peers when the thirteen-year-old realized that something was terribly wrong.
The bus ride had gone on like any other until the driver started acting strangely. It was then that Jeremy knew he had to act, and he had to do it fast.
There were about fifteen more children on the bus with Jeremy at the time. They had all been chatting and enjoying their ride.
None of them could’ve predicted what would happen next. And if it weren’t for Jeremy’s quick thinking, they might not have been able to tell their tale.
Jeremy realized that something was wrong when the driver’s hands started flailing in the air. He got up to get a closer look, not knowing how dangerous the situation really was.
He walked up to the front of the bus, and the sight that greeted him had everyone in the vicinity in a state of panic.
The bus driver had passed out. There was no one controlling the big yellow vehicle that had transported the children on a daily basis.
They were at the mercy of the metal surrounding them, and if no one took control, the bus could crash at any given moment. It was a dreadful situation to be in.
But Jeremy remained as calm as he could. He leaped forward, grabbed the steering wheel, and pulled the keys out of the ignition.
His actions were enough to pull the bus to the curb and bring it to a halt. But what about the driver? What had actually happened to him?
All of the kids on the bus were terrified. Being in an accident with a car was bad enough, but getting into one with a bus that had no driver could’ve been so much worse.
Luckily Jeremy stepped up, and he didn’t just stop with pulling the bus over. He knew the driver needed medical attention right away.
While Jeremy was trying to keep the bus under control, he asked the other passengers to call the emergency services.
Once the bus came to a halt, one of the other kids, Johnny Wood, told Jeremy that he knew how to do CPR. He was just a kid, but it could help the driver until the medics arrived.
Jeremy made way, and Johnny started doing chest compressions on the driver. The situation seemed just as dire for the man who passed out behind the wheel.
He had been unconscious for quite some time, and nobody knew what had happened to him yet. Luckily the medics arrived and took him to the hospital, but his condition was grave.
It was later revealed that the bus driver had suffered a heart attack. That was why he passed out, and the bus lost control.
What happened to him after he arrived at the hospital is still unknown. But the boys’ quick thinking might’ve ended up saving his life after all.
Jeremy was known as a hero after that. All the passengers on the bus felt like they owed him their lives, and they would always be grateful for the way he acted that day.
His mother was also incredibly proud of him, and once the news spread, there were a lot of people who felt the same way.
But that wasn’t all. Jeremy’s heroic actions were also caught on the bus’ surveillance cameras meaning that it was available for all to see.
Even though the footage is a little blurry, every action Jeremy took that day can be seen and remembered by everyone involved. As well as anyone who wanted to see what happened.
When Jeremy was interviewed, later on, he stated that he was just acting on instinct. He had no idea how to drive any kind of vehicle but did what he thought was right nonetheless.
And those brave actions will always be remembered, even by people who weren’t there that day.
After finding out what happened on the bus, the local authorities came forth and said that they wanted to reward Jeremy for his quick thinking.
In an interview with ABC News, the Milton Police Chief said, ‘I’ll tell you, I’ll give the kid credit for fast thinking. He did the right thing, and we’re going to do something for him. The kid definitely deserves credit.’
In order 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.