One Norwalk Public School bus driver is being called a hero after his quick thinking saved a bus full of children stuck on these train tracks last December. But Victor Monte says he was just doing his job.
"It happened really fast. It's probably the worst scenario you can be in as a driver. Then after the lights came on, it really drove it home; at that point you need to get these kids out of here," said Victor Monte, a Norwalk Public School bus driver who was driving the afternoon of December 18th.
Monte says the afternoon of the incident started off asn ormal. He stopped at the railroad tracks - a standard procedure for school busses - but when he started to drive, the bus moved onto the tracks and stopped.
"I hit the accelerator and the bus decided it wasn't going to go that moment. It caught me by surprise and I coasted to a stop and I had to evaluate what I wanted to do. I troubleshot for a few minutes and I realized the bus should be evacuated and I began the evacuation," said Monte.
Monte and others quickly got about 40 Silvermine Elementary School students off of the bus as the railroad crossing guards started coming down.
"A few minutes into the evacuation the train lights actually turned on, kids started screaming and I could hear that something was approaching. I knew what was going on and I tried to get the kids out as fast as I could," said Monte.
The train stopped just 10 feet in front of the evacuated bus. Monte and three other civilians - Shahcad Khan, Melissa Acevado and her son Corey Acevado - were honored for their roles in assisting the students off the bus during the Police Commission meeting Monday evening.
Shahcad Khan was working outside of the Subway on Main Avenue when he saw the stalled bus and ran to help. "I was trying to cheer a couple of the kids up because I was dressed as a character."
Monte says knowing his kids are safe is all the recognition he needs.
"For me the smiles on their faces was enough; to see them grateful," said Monte.