WALTON, N.Y. — An eighth grade student here recently helped save another student who was choking on a piece of candy while on the school bus.
What seemed like a normal afternoon on the bus of Walton Central School District driver Dave Edwards turned into a bit of panic when first grader Danielle Miller started to choke on a piece of candy that had become lodged in her throat, according to a news release posted on the district's website.
Edwards said he saw Miller in the middle of the aisle with what he described as a blank look as students behind him began shouting, “She’s choking! She’s choking!” Knowing that 14-year-old Rachel Trimbell is certified in CPR and first aid and is a member of the Walton Fire Department Explorer Post, Edwards shouted to the back for her to help Miller as he secured the bus.
“I just wanted to help her,” Trimbell said. “She was scared. Her eyes were wide and she was gasping. You could tell she was choking.”
By the time Edwards came to where the incident happened on the bus, Trimbell, who was seated about seven rows away from Miller, had already jumped into action and had performed the Heimlich maneuver. She said she thought it was about the fifth try when the candy became dislodged and everything seemed to be back to normal.
“I knew it would be scary,” Trimbell, who noted she had just been re-certified a week before the incident happened, said. “I freaked out more after the fact just because of the fact that I did it.”
Once things settled and Edwards started the bus on its normal route, the two sat with one another.
“Not only did Rachel save a possible worse situation, but she sat with Danielle to comfort her and make sure she was OK,” Edwards said.
About a week after the incident, Trimbell visited Miller at Townsend Elementary, and they had a chance to talk about what had happened.
A strawberry Starburst that was “hard as a rock” was the culprit, Miller said. She also added that she likely wouldn’t be eating those candies again any time soon.
When asked what she thought when she looked at Trimbell, she said “happiness” and then thanked her. The two have continued to sit together on the bus, and Miller noted that she has a best friend in Trimbell.