Treating the children in her care as though they were her own.

092816renitasmithsurpriseRENITA SMITH

SCHOOL BUS DRIVER –COLLEGE PARK, MD.

On a clear, sunny day in September, Local 2250 (ACE-AFSCME) member Renita Smith was driving her after-school bus route when the instrument panel started beeping. She was about to call in the problem to her supervisor when she smelled smoke.

She immediately pulled over, seeing flames in her rearview mirror. As the fire intensified, Renita led all 20 children safely off the bus and to a neighbor’s yard away from the smoke and fumes. Then she went back onto the bus — its windows melting around her — checking every aisle for a sleeping child, making sure all of them had gotten off.

“I knew I had to go back on the bus to make sure I got all my babies,” she said. Because that’s what her instincts and training told her to do.

That’s the “never quit” spirit that AFSCME members bring to their jobs every day, whether they’re bus drivers, first responders or other public service workers. And they do it without expectation of special recognition.

“I was just doing my job and what’s expected of me,” said Smith, herself a mother of two. “Serving my community means that you’re not being selfish. You’re thinking of how to do something for others and not expect anything in return. For God to give me a supernatural power to do what I did and save those babies, I pat myself on the back and say, ‘Job well done.’ I’m proud because my babies are all home.”

And we’re proud she’s a member of our AFSCME family.