A school bus driver is being credited with saving the life of an elementary school student who swallowed a coin.
A Seagoville North Elementary School student named Preston, 7, was traveling aboard a Dallas ISD school bus with other students on September 29 when security cameras on the bus captured footage of the boy putting an object in his mouth, according to Good Morning America. Shortly after swallowing the coin, the boy tried to get the attention of bus driver Raquel Radford Baker.
Baker had been a bus driver for the school district for 17 years.
She said she thought the boy simply needed to vomit at first, stopping the bus to allow the first grader to do so.
“I opened the door. I said, ‘Go ahead and throw up.’ And he turned back to me, and he … looked like he was in trouble with breathing,” said Baker, per GMA.
Preston then told her that he had swallowed a penny and that it was lodged in his throat. Baker immediately came to his aid, carrying the boy off the bus to the sidewalk and performing the Heimlich maneuver, having been trained in first aid.
Baker performed the maneuver several times before finally dislodging the coin, which turned out to be a quarter.
“He can’t die in my arms. I have to save his life. God help me,” said Baker, per GMA.
Weeks after saving Preston’s life, Baker met with Gia Bell, Preston’s mother, who offered her thanks to the veteran bus driver for saving her son.
“I was able to look at her in her eyes and tell her how much I thanked her for saving my son’s life that day,” said Bell, per GMA.
Preston now calls his bus driver his “hero.”
“I’ll see her at the bus stop. Always picking me up,” said Preston, per GMA. “She’s an angel.”
The first grader has since promised not to play with quarters again.