Hero Boy Who Rescued School Bus Says He Paid Attention Because His Parents Didn't Give Him Cellphone
He yelled at kids to stop filming and call for help.
Dillon Reeves doesn't know how to drive yet, but that didn't stop the Warren, Michigan teen from jumping into action to help in a dangerous situation. While other kids on his school bus were preoccupied with their devices, the 13-year-old, who doesn't have a phone yet, noticed something didn't seem right with the driver.
He ran to the front, where the driver was unconscious, took over the wheel, and steered the bus to safety. He's been honored as a hero for his brave efforts, and Warren Mayor James R. Fouts told PEOPLE, "It certainly would've been disastrous," if Reeves hadn't stepped in.
Reeves was sitting in the fourth row of the bus chatting with a schoolmate when he looked out the window and saw the bus "swerving," he told PEOPLE. When he looked at the bus driver, her eyes were closed, and her head was hanging down.
"She didn't even have her hands on the steering wheel or the gas pedal," the teenager said. "It just didn't seem right."
Reeves got up and ran to the driver. The bus was about to go over a curb and onto a lawn, so he grabbed the wheel and turned to avoid hitting a car at the intersection. He pumped the brakes and brought the bus, which was carrying 60 middle school kids, to a complete stop.
The scene was "chaotic," and other kids weren't helping because they were shooting the incident. "If you can film, you can call 911!" he recalled saying. "It frustrated me so bad," he added. "They just needed to be mature and do what's right."
Reeve's parents were called, and when his father, Steve, picked up the phone, a police officer said, "Your son is a hero." They raced to the scene, and his stepmother Ireta explained that she saw a fire truck, ambulance, and several police cars.
"I was shaking," says the 45-year-old community nurse. "I gave him a giant hug. I squeezed him so tight," she remembers. "The principal came up and was like, 'Do you know what he did?…. He stopped the bus from getting in an accident. He saved everybody!'"
The only experience Reeves has behind the wheel is driving a GoKarts, a golf cart, and a car in a parking lot, but he knew how to pump the brakes by paying attention to the driver.
According to his stepmother, he also likes watching YouTube videos of first responders rescuing people. "I think watching those videos was probably training for him," Ireta Reeves said.
Ireta Reeves has been in touch with the bus driver via text and said the driver wrote, "I'm so thankful Dillon was on the bus that day. His swift actions saved lives and property and he deserves all the attention for his bravery. He was asking a few months back about being a bus driver, how old did you have to be and if it was hard," the message continued.
"He thought he might want to be a bus driver one day. It's a great job. I love it. But I hope Dillon can see his potential to be so much more."
Reeves saved the lives of his classmates, and everyone is so appreciative. "We're very proud of him," his dad, Steve Reeves, said. "He has a very kind heart. He's always trying to help people out." Mayor Fouts wants others to be like Reeves. "We want to encourage young people: if you see something, not only say something, but do something. By acting quickly, he saved lives and I think forever changed his life."
Reeves is modest about his actions and said "all he did was stop the bus," but others know his efforts saved lives. The teen wants to be a first responder one day and a GoFundMe page has been set up for his future education. In the meantime, he has been accepted into the Warren Police Department's Junior Detective's program and wants people to "look out for each other." A separate GoFundMe account has been created for the bus driver.