KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Seven-year-old Shawntele Gray likes riding her school bus from Hogan Elementary to her home in Kansas City.
“It’s fun and I have a lot of fun with my friends,” said the first grader.
Two weeks ago on a cold, blustery winter day, Keona Gray was on her way to pick up her daughter from her bus stop near 45th and Lister.
“It was very cold that day. The wind was blowing so hard,” said Gray.
An unexpected turn triggered one heck of a tale.
“I got on a hill and I was going up it, and then my car just started going backwards,” said Gray.
The nervous mom’s car suddenly stuck on a slick, snow-packed hill. No way could she get Shawntele.
“I was terrified. I was like ‘Oh no. No, no, no, no.’ I just know I had to get there. I didn’t want her to freeze. I didn’t know if she was scared,” the mom said.
Shawntele’s nose and hands were turning red. You bet the shivering little girl was scared.
“I was freezing. I was thinking mommy wasn’t coming to pick me up,” Shawntele said.
Kansas City Area Transportation Authority driver Tiffany Brager drove through the neighborhood with passengers in tow and suddenly saw the cold child at the school bus stop. Brager also has a 7-year-old daughter.
“I could tell she was really cold. I just couldn’t leave her there. I had to do something,” said Brager.
The alert bus driver radioed her supervisor. The road supervisor arrived, drove around the area several times, but did not see Shawntele Gray.
“She had on her coat and her little boots,” said neighbor Shamonda Bowman, who knows the child’s family.
After seeing the cold child standing a the bus stop for 45 minutes, Bowman rushed to get the girl and took her inside her home.
“I remember her and her mom before they moved about three blocks over. I took her coat off, wrapped her up in a blanket and let her eat a snack with my kids. By that time, the KCATA supervisor drove by and I told him that I had the child and she was okay,” said Bowman.
The bus driver was recently honored by her boss for helping the little girl.
“Are they your heroes?” FOX4’s Robert Townsend asked.
“Yes,” Shawntele replied.
“I’m just so thankful to all of them for what they did for her. They’re like her angels,” said Keona Gray.