As a school bus transporting seven children with special needs home passed by the Garden State Parkway Thursday afternoon in Roselle Park, New Jersey, a terrifying problem occurred causing a fire to start up on the moving vehicle.
With some quick thinking, 10-year-old Alex Perez noticed the fire and immediately responding yelling out to the bus driver to get their attention.
“I smelled it and I looked toward the front and saw smoke coming from the entrance,” Alex told reporters.
The bus driver noticed the smoke with Alex’s help and quickly pulled over to the side of the Garden State Parkway.
As soon as the vehicle stopped, first responders were at the scene ready to pull the children out of the bus safely.
“I wasn’t worried at first, but when I started to see it catch on fire, I’m so glad I wasn’t on it,” Alex explained.
Alex’s mom, Michelle Perez, says his quick thinking may have been attributed to his autism. She noticed he has incredibly sharp senses due to his autism, and she believes this likely allowed him to notice the fire so quickly and inform the driver before it was too late.
Despite his enormous service to the community, Alex remained humble about his role in the safety of the children and bus driver.
“I was like the second hero. I was like the sidekick, I guess,” Alex humbly said.
Alex was no sidekick though, and by stepping up in time, he was able to save eight lives that day!
Alex had to sit in a police car for over an hour at a distance watching the school bus fire spreading into the trees that surrounded, but he was not scared despite all the chaos that day.
Thanks to Alex, eight lives were able to make it safely back home to their families, and that is truly the work of a hero!