Bus Driver Praised for Saving Student's Life With Heimlich Maneuver

The five-year-old boy was gagging and clutching his chest.

ByABC News
April 14, 2016, 3:02 PM

— -- An Oklahoma bus driver is being hailed as a "she-ro" after surveillance video captured her using the Heimlich maneuver to dislodge a coin from a young student's throat.

Last week Ginger Maxville, a Mannford Public Schools bus driver and special needs teacher's assistant at Mannford Public School, was nearing the end of her normal afternoon bus route when she noticed a 5-year-old boy standing up and making noises.

"I thought he was just teasing me and I thought he was just not following my instructions and not sitting down," she told ABC News affiliate KTUL-TV. "His sister said, 'I think he swallowed a coin.'"

On the surveillance video, the boy could be seen standing up, gagging and clutching his chest. Maxville said she immediately parked the bus on the side of the road.

"I made sure the bus was secure, went back and grabbed the student," she said. On the video, Maxville could be seen pulling the boy off the seat and into the aisle and then administering the Heimlich maneuver. "He was just red and just gasping for air," she said.

After a minute or two, Maxville succeeded in dislodging the coin. She said she actually saw it roll onto the bus floor.

"I heard it hit the floor," she said. "I said, 'We got it!'"

Maxville then embraced the little boy and told him, "Don't do that again. You scared me to death, you hear me? Oh, I thank the Lord that you're okay."

"I was just surprised that, you know, that this was happening," she later told KTUL-TV. "I thought, here, I've got to see if my training, if I was really paying attention when I had my training. And it paid off!"

Maxville said that was the first time in 17 years that she'd had to use the Heimlich technique.

"It was just God working through me but I'm just glad we got it done," she said.

Dr. Steve Waldvogel, the superintendent of Mannford Public Schools, told ABC News that the video had been sent around the district so his staff would know what to do and how to act in a similar situation.

Waldvogel said the video spoke volumes for Maxville's character.

"We just try to find the best people and we've got one," he said. "She's so sweet and such a great person."