Johanna Naranjo and Gilbert Romero did not hesitate when they heard a school bus had crashed in front of their Lowe’s store in Las Vegas, Nevada. Their quick action and willingness to help injured students and their parents did not go unnoticed. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department honored Naranjo and Romero in a recent ceremony.
The Las Vegas police presented Romero and Naranjo with plaques that read, in part,
“Our sincerest appreciation goes to all of the employees of Lowe’s Home Improvement, store #2477, for their efforts and the support they provided our first responders. They are all commended for their hard work, bravery, and willingness to assist during this dynamic and complex incident.”
On the day of the wreck, employees gathered for their morning huddle, but they all began to realize something outside was terribly wrong. That’s when a customer told Naranjo there had been a large crash involving a school bus.
Naranjo walked outside, joining her co-worker Gilbert Romero in the parking lot. Immediately, the trio decided to bring a pallet of water to the crash victims. As first responders worked, the employees asked how else they could help.
“I didn’t think twice about it,” Naranjo said.
The temperature was rising and expected to reach 95 degrees. So Naranjo and Romero brought shade canopies and chairs for people in distress. Soon, parents began arriving in the Lowe’s parking lot to find their children. Since many parents only spoke Spanish, law enforcement officers asked Naranjo and Romero, who are bilingual, if they could translate.
“In that situation, we had to find a way to keep everyone calm, listen to needs and assist,” Romero, a father of four, said. “So many parents were afraid. I was able to calm the families down and let them know that I was helping.”
Staying calm is something Romero is familiar with, as he’s a member of the store’s safety team. Every Lowe’s store in the U.S. has a volunteer safety team, which are made up of employees who actively care and work together to help keep co-workers and customers safe. Part of that training includes safety in the parking lot. Romero kept watchful eyes as parents gathered and used his training that day.
Though Naranjo and Romero appreciate the recognition, both said it was the just right thing to do.