A 19 year old is being hailed a hero in Bethel after she sprang into action when her bus driver passed out at the wheel.
Jackie Barbosa says it's the bus ride she'll never forget. It started out like any Tuesday for the Bethel High School senior, until her bus driver made an announcement that changed everything.
“He came up to us and said 'guys I have to stop because I’m not feeling very well,'” explains Barbosa.
He called his bus company; First Student asked for a back up driver and drove on. That’s when Jackie realized something was wrong. The bus was swerving into on-coming traffic. Without thinking twice she sprang into action, jumped out of her seat and over to the driver. First, she put the bus in park, then with her own hands took the drivers foot off of the gas pedal.
“I grabbed my phone from my purse and I said 'call 911!'” With the ambulance on its way, she turned to the driver.
“He started coming back to normal and he was like 'guys I have park the bus' and I said no! It’s fine.”
Once the bus was parked Jackie got the other twelve students safely to the sidewalk.
“If I didn’t stop, it would have crashed. It wouldn’t be just damage for the bus it could’ve hurt one of us on the bus,” says Barbosa.
Her principal and a representative from the bus company praised the 19 year old. However, she says the most touching gesture were a dozen pink roses from the drivers mother who works at Bethel High School as a paraprofessional.
“She told me I kind of saved his life somehow, I helped him save the kids,” explains Barbosa.
The bus drivers mother says he is recovering and doing fine.