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Fox News
Fox News
21 Oct 2023


A Dallas school bus driver who jumped into action to save a child choking on a penny is being heralded as a hero for her quick thinking. 

"I feel like God placed me there for a reason. If I wasn’t there I don’t know what the other driver may have done, I mean I don’t know. I was nervous at the time, I was, I just couldn’t panic. All I said was God help me. Help me save this baby. That’s all I knew," Dallas Independent School District bus driver Raquel Radford Baker told Fox 4.

Video footage captured Baker quickly rescuing a 7-year-old boy who was choking on the morning of Sept. 29 outside Seagoville North Elementary by performing the Heimlich maneuver, the outlet reported. Baker wasn't even supposed to be working that day, and was filling in for a coworker, the outlet reported. 

"There’s a penny in my throat," a 7-year-old boy is heard saying as he walks towards the doors of the bus to exit. 

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Boy choking on school bus

A 7-year-old boy approaching Dallas Independent School District bus driver Raquel Radford Baker to tell her he's choking.  (Dallas ISD / LOCAL NEWS X /TMX)

"A penny?" Baker responded as she escorted the boy off of the bus. 

"All I could think of, I got to save this baby. I have to save him," Baker recalled in her interview with Fox 4. 

Video of the scene shows the young boy talking to other students before appearing to pop something in his mouth. He then walks over to Baker, who was in the driver’s seat. Baker said she initially thought the boy sick before she caught on that he swallowed a penny. 

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"He mentioned something about a penny and I immediately, I said ‘penny?’ I grabbed him ran down the steps with him. On my way to the sidewalk I was actually performing the Heimlich maneuver," she recalled in an interview with Fox 4. 

The video cuts to footage outside the bus, where Baker is seen carrying the boy to the sidewalk of the school

Dallas bus driver

A Dallas school bus driver helping a choking boy off the bus.  (Dallas ISD / LOCAL NEWS X /TMX)

"I was running with him and just pulling, doing the Heimlich maneuver, telling him to breathe, breathe. By the time we got to the sidewalk, he was blue in the face and he was limp. He wasn’t talking," she said.

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Choking boy outside school

Dallas Independent School District bus driver Raquel Radford Baker rushing a choking boy off a bus to perform Heimlich maneuver. (Dallas ISD / LOCAL NEWS X /TMX)

Baker, a military veteran who previously worked as an employee of the Dallas County Sheriff's Office, instructed a woman to call 911 while she performed the Heimlich maneuver on the child. 

"He stepped to the side and he said, ‘Ms. Rocky, I’m okay. I can breathe.’ It was a powerful relief for me because I couldn’t believe I just reversed this whole thing. That could have really went wrong you know and I’m just grateful," Baker recounted. 

Baker said she has a child who is a similar age and that the incident hit "really close to home to me."

The district threw a celebration honoring Baker as a hero on Friday, including by gifting her a cape.