When one school bus driver heard a young boy making strange noises behind her, she turned her head to see what was going on. As she did so, she was shocked to realize that the student was in grave danger. And what happened next was simply stunning.
Ginger Maxville comes from Green Country in Oklahoma. She works there as a teacher’s assistant for Mannford Public Schools, helping children with special needs. However, that’s not her only job. She also works as a bus driver, taking kids to and from school each day.
Maxville’s school bus was no doubt frequently filled with lively and excitable children. However, one particular bus journey will live with the driver forever. That’s because her bus descended into chaos when one boy stood up mid-journey.
The child in question was a five-year-old boy who was sitting at the front of the bus. As he rose to his feet, the boy began making a series of strange noises. “I thought he was just teasing me and I thought he was just not following my instructions and not sitting down,” Maxville told KTUL-TV. “His sister said, ‘I think he swallowed a coin.’”
With this information, it was clear to see that the little boy was choking. Maxville knew she only had a short window before he stopped breathing. So she quickly pulled over. “I made sure the bus was secure, went back and grabbed the student,” she said. “He was just red and gasping for air.”
The surveillance camera on the bus captured exactly what happened next. In the dramatic footage, Maxville leapt from her seat and lifted the gasping boy into the aisle. “Come here. It’s OK. You’re throwing up, but at least maybe you’ll throw it up,” she reassured the child in the shocking video.
Maxville began to perform the Heimlich maneuver on the child. The maneuver is a first aid technique which involves administering abdominal thrusts to a person who is choking. Maxville had learned the trick 17 years ago during CPR training. She’d never needed to use it until now, though.
In the extraordinary footage, Maxville stands behind the little boy and pushes her clasped hands beneath his ribs. After a few thrusts, something shiny falls from the boy’s mouth. Then the driver can be heard telling him, “OK, got it.”
The whole incident was a bit of a blur for Maxville. “I know I heard it hit the floor and then I seen it rolling. I said, ‘We got it,’” she recalled in her interview with KTUL-TV. “I was just surprised that this was happening, and I thought I got to see if I was really paying attention when I had my training – and it paid off,” she added.
After saving the little boy’s life, Maxville issued him with a stern warning that she hoped would stay with him for the rest of his life. As seen in the video footage, she tells him, “Don’t you do that again. You scared me to death. You hear me? Oh thank the Lord you are OK.”
However, she didn’t stay mad at the boy for very long. After retrieving a tissue from her belongings by her seat, she helped to clean up the little boy’s face. Then she leaned over to give the shell-shocked kid a much-needed cuddle.
When news of the bus driver’s life-saving efforts spread, many people in the community hailed her as a hero. However, modest Maxville said she was simply doing her job. After all, she thought, if you can’t trust people like her to keep children safe, who can you rely on?
Although the teacher’s assistant was grateful for the recognition she got, she claimed that her actions were simply second nature. “I feel like I don’t deserve a lot of credit,” Maxville later explained to KTUL-TV. “It was just God working through me. But I am just glad we got it done.”
Thankfully, the little boy soon recovered from his ordeal. And he asked Maxville if he could keep the coin he coughed up. Maxville reluctantly agreed on the condition that he swore to never swallow a penny again.
The media later named the boy as kindergarten student Cameron Jansson. Just a week after his terrifying experience, he was happy to explain what had happened. “Wanna know what happened on the bus?” he asked a reporter from News On 6. “I put [a coin] in my mouth, then it… it choked me.”
“The bus driver just pushed my belly three times and that quarter went out,” he added, as if it was nothing. However, Cameron’s mom, Robin Jansson, was not so blasé about what had happened. “Watching the video and watching his face, yes, I could tell that my son was very scared,” she said.
Consequently, she was keen to thank Maxville for her quick-thinking. “I really appreciate you being there,” News On 6 quoted Jansson as telling Maxville. She added, “She’s an angel. She just really is an angel in our eyes.”
Objects that become lodged in the windpipe or throat can often cause people to choke. If someone is choking, they may be unable to talk or even to cough. They may have difficulty breathing and may start to turn blue as they struggle to take in oxygen.
Although Maxville’s actions were clearly lifesaving, most health bodies recommend resorting to abdominal thrusts only as a last resort. Alternatively, if someone is choking, the Red Cross advises rescuers to administer five back blows between the person’s shoulder blades and to then perform five abdominal thrusts. After that, the aid giver should alternate between the two techniques until the object becomes dislodged.
To perform the Heimlich maneuver you should stand behind the person in need and place a fist above their navel. From there, grab the fist with your free hand and press into the abdomen, using hard, upward thrusts. However, to learn the procedure properly and to potentially become a life-saver like Maxville, it’s best to take CPR lessons.