Salute to a heroine
I don’t know Rhonda Carlsen of Albuquerque, NM, but I would be proud to. She’s a real heroine in my book.
Based on what she did and her modesty in talking about it during a TV interview, I am of the opinion that she doesn’t consider herself a heroine or a celebrity, but her quick thinking and action Monday have made her someone to celebrate.
Rhonda Carlsen lives in northwest Albuquerque and Monday morning walked with her daughter to the bus stop, where her daughter would catch a bus to Seven Bar Elementary School. But the bus loaded with school children didn’t stop. It rolled right by Rhonda and her daughter.
The daughter told her mother that something was wrong on the bus, and her mother agreed. Rhonda was sure that she saw the driver slumped over the wheel.
She could have done as too many onlookers or witnesses to emergency situation do—nothing. Instead, she began running along side of the bus. Seeing a frightened third-grade boy looking out the window, she pointed to the bus door handle and signaled for him to open the door. At the same time, she yelled instructions, hoping he would hear her instructions or understand her hand signals.
He did and pulled the handle, opening the door. Rhonda grasped a handle as she ran and pulled herself in to the bus. She hit the brakes, brought the bus to a stop, and turned the ignition off.
Fortunately, no one was hurt.
In a TV interview, rather than offering self-congratulatory comments, Rhonda matter-of-factly explained what she had done and stressed how fortunate it was that no one was injured. In addition, she went to the hospital later to visit the bus driver, who had suffered a stroke.
Her great example of caring for others and taking action even though she might have been injured in the process stirred me to think: Would I have done the same thing?
When God presents us with opportunity, do we run from the opportunity or run with it as Rhonda did and do the right thing? She could have decided there was nothing she could do and turned away or just yelled for someone else to do something. Our opportunity may not be as dramatic, but perhaps we could run an errand for a senior citizen or assist someone who is homebound or ill.
The young boy played a key role by opening the bus door when prompted by Rhonda. Is there a young person in your life or mine who is looking to us for direction? Is there a young person we can encourage to take action that opens the door for others to enter and to help? It just might save that young person from harm.
Rhonda Carlsen doesn’t know it, but she’s my heroine of the week.