Bus driver saves man | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Bus driver saves man

Richard lay motionless in the driveway, flat on his back, buried in 4-feet of snow and mostly hidden from the road by a tall snow berm.

“Richard, do you know me?”

“Sure, I know you. You’re Marvin the bus driver.”

Richard Christensen is turning 74 this week. According to his wife Gloria, Richard is living to see this birthday thanks to one man – Marvin Mowlen, a Douglas County school bus driver.

It all started as a simple stroll across the street.

“When I reached the snow berm at the end of the driveway, I tried to step across but lost my balance and fell over,” Richard said. “I’ve had two strokes and part of my left leg is crippled. When I fall I can’t get up.”

So Richard lay in the cold snow almost an hour before Mowlen drove by on his regular route, stopped and pulled him out of the snow.

“Marvin could see me because he sits so high up in the bus,” Richard said. “If he hadn’t come by, I would have been out there yelling for my wife and she probably wouldn’t have heard me.”

During this time, Gloria figured she knew exactly where her husband was.

“I was in the back doing wash and thought he was down taking a nap,” she said. “If Marvin hadn’t seen him and helped him, Richard would have died, no doubt about it.”

Gloria and Richard have been married 20 years and moved to Tahoe 11 years ago. Since his first stroke three years ago, Gloria has become Richard’s caretaker – a fact which seems hard for either of them to believe.

“Three years ago he was a big, robust man,” Gloria said, watching her husband lovingly. “He didn’t have a wrinkle on his face. He could lift anything, he was so strong.”

As far as Mowlen was concerned, getting out and helping Richard was the only decent thing to do.

“I thought he’d had a heart attack,” Mowlen said. “I was concerned about his well-being, I would stop for anybody in that kind of situation.”

Before stepping out of his bus though, Mowlen carefully explained what he was about to do to his bus-load of elementary school students.

“It has to be a driver’s call. A driver has to stop and think if his or her actions will jeopardize the kids,” said Dan O’Rork, Douglas County School District transportation coordinator. “Marvin knew this man, he attends church with him, so the odds of endangering the students was minimal.”

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