A heroic bus story

Published 9:26 pm Tuesday, June 9, 2015

In our estimation, school bus drivers are the true heroes of the school system. That’s not to say that teachers don’t deserve all the respect and admiration you can conjure, that cafeteria workers don’t deserve high fives and free dessert for life or that administrators haven’t earned the choice parking spots nearest the school building.

But bus drivers are a different breed altogether. They start their days at inhumanely early hours and are still on the road when most teachers have gone home. They willingly allow themselves to be shut into long metal tubes with dozens of loud, often unruly, children at a time. Twice a day or more. And they maneuver those long metal tubes on wheels along the narrowest country roads, through the busiest city streets and in some of Suffolk’s most dangerous traffic.

It was the dangerous roads that brought the heroism of one Suffolk school bus driver to light last week. As he was driving the King’s Fork High School girls’ varsity soccer team to its regional semifinal game in Midlothian during the rain last Tuesday, driver Sam Kouri found himself in the frightening position of having to navigate through a developing crash that happened along Route 460 just in front of the bus.

Email newsletter signup

Two cars hit each other head on, and then a van tried to avoid the accident and a tractor trailer jackknifed doing the same thing. On a wet road, at 40 miles per hour, with rain pouring down and a busload of girls and coaches, the 73-year-old Kouri reacted before he could even think about what to do, deftly swerving left and then right to avoid the oncoming truck and snaking the bus through the debris and destruction of the accident.

His bus emerged without a scratch, and one of the soccer players even napped through the excitement.

That’s got to be the stuff of bus-driving legend right there.