OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The wheels on the bus have been going round-and-round for three decades for bus driver Bob Olmstead of Putnam City Public Schools.

“I love my job. It’s not hard to come to work,” Olmstead said. “I have absolutely the best kids I’ve ever had in my whole career. They’re wonderful.

Earlier this year, Olmstead was behind the wheel, six stops into a 10-stop route, when he saw smoke.

“Almost every time I see the video, I tear up,” Olmstead said. “I think of the implications. I’m thankful I got it right.”

Bob Olmstead did get it right that day.

He evacuated the middle schoolers on the bus, making sure every student was safely away from the flames.

“He’s the type of bus driver every parent wants for their children,” said Debbie Straughn.

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Bob Olmstead behind the wheel, on the job.

Straughn first met Bob Olmstead 25 years ago, when she was the assistant principal at the elementary school where Olmstead had a route.

Straughn has worked with hundreds of bus drivers over the years.

There are few more capable or more caring caring than Olmstead.

“He’s the type of person who doesn’t think about himself. He thinks of other people,” said Straughn.

First Fidelity Bank and Putnam City Public Schools helped pull off this Pay It 4ward surprise.

“It’s incredible Bob has been here for 29 years,” said First Fidelity Bank’s Bobby Burger. “On behalf of First Fidelity Bank I’m proud to present this $400.”

“This is a first for us. We’re really excited. It’s really cool to honor Bob,” said Putnam City Public Information Officer, Jeff Bardach. “He just finished his route. We’re going to bring him out and hopefully make his day.”

Bob Olmstead hasn’t seen Debbie Straughn in 25 years.

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Bob Olmstead, bus driver, protector of children.

Straughn nominated Olmstead for 29 years of service with Putnam City Schools and for his heroism when his bus caught fire.

“It feels really nice that somebody thinks I’m a hero,” Olmstead said to Straughn. “Your kind words about my skill as a bus driver are really worth a lot more than $400.”

It was a heartwarming reunion celebrating a true hero who always goes the extra mile.

Nominate someone for Pay it 4Ward! Fill out this form with as much detail as possible.

Pay it 4Ward is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.