Rebecca Powley just wanted to get to the airport. She got a lot more than she bargained for when she boarded the Ontario Northland bus with her 11-year-old son, Connor.
The last time she rode a bus was 25 years ago. She and her son walked past about four rows from the front before sitting down.
This seat would not be her only one during the drive, however. At first, Powley was admiring the nice environment the bus provided.
She told Global News, “I’m emailing my husband saying, ‘Oh, I understand why you say the bus is nice. It’s relaxing, it’s warm, free Wi-Fi, power, plug-in — great.”
That was all about to change. Soon, her husband would be receiving texts and pictures from Conor about Powley’s new seat on the bus.
Another passenger yelled out to the bus driver asking if he was okay. He didn’t respond because he was unconscious.
“He was passed out with his head on the wheel. For a second, I thought he was maybe dead,” Powley shared with CBC News.
The bus was in stop-and-go traffic traveling about 25 m.p.h. Many passengers froze in panic and confusion.
Powley looked at her son and knew what she needed to do. She rushed to the wheel to take over the bus driver’s job.
The driver’s foot was on the gas pedal so Powley first had to move it. Her next goal was to move the bus into one lane rather than have it continue straddling two lanes.
She was able to move the bus to the right-hand shoulder of Highway 401 and come to a stop.
Another passenger called 911 for the driver who regained consciousness but had no idea what happened.
Ontario Northland granted Powley free bus rides for life.
Renee Baker, a spokesperson for Ontario Northland, told The Star, “It was to honour and show her that we really appreciate her stepping up to the plate and ensuring our motor coach operator received the medical care that he needed and that our passengers were safe, as well.”
Though Powley hadn’t been on a bus in 25 years, she bravely answered the call when a panicked passenger asked if anybody could drive the bus.
Now, the driver, her son, and over 40 passengers have her to thank for saving their lives.
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