NAPLES, Fla. — School bus driver Gail Paxon saved the life of a student on her bus recently by performing the Heimlich maneuver.
Paxon, a driver for the School District of Collier County, was transporting Manatee Elementary School students home during her afternoon bus route when she heard her passengers shouting in distress and pulled the bus over to investigate. One girl was calling frantically, “My sister! My sister!”
The students told Paxon that the girl had been given a piece of candy. When the child could not respond to Paxon verbally, she knew the girl was choking. Paxon had previously performed the Heimlich maneuver on her son when he was choking and used that past experience to guide her.
“Through her quick assessment of the situation, she was able to maintain the safety of all of the students on the bus while addressing the serious needs of the individual child,” said Manatee Elementary School Principal Wendy Crawford.
Students in the girl’s kindergarten class wrote a thank-you letter to Paxon, promising not to eat on board the bus in the future. “We are happy you knew what to do and were able to stop the bus and take care of her,” the letter said.