(WMC-TV) - A North Mississippi bus driver is being hailed a hero after saving the life of a student. The driver's quick thinking kept the 8-year-old girl from choking.
It was a moment the Pontotoc, Mississippi bus driver will never forget. He is reminded of it every morning when he picks the student up for school.
Delane Mask has gone through all sorts of safety training in his two years driving the bus, but he hoped he would never have to use it.
"Got about 150 yards and one of the kids hollered and said, 'One of them's choking,'" said Delane Mask.
Mask was driving a bus full of children home from South Pontotoc Elementary School when an 8-year-old girl started choking on a piece of candy.
"She was gagging and coughing up stuff and everything," he described. "I thought she was feeling to choke to death on me."
Using the Heimlich maneuver, Mask was able to get the second grader to pass the candy while dispatchers were on their way.
"I was watching her lips, making sure her lips wasn't blue, making sure she was getting oxygen because I was going to have to do CPR on her," said Mask.
The student is doing just fine now, and while Mask says it feels good to have made a difference, it created a special bond that he gets a change to strengthen every morning when he opens those bus doors.
"She even got on this morning and said, 'Oh, how you doing?' And I said, 'Oh, I'm doing good,' and so you know, just to see that smiling face is really satisfying to me," said Mask.
Mask tells Action News 5 he was in the service and recently decided to become a bus driver.
He will continue to drive for South Pontotoc schools.