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School bus driver saves choking child

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RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. -- A school bus driver is being called a hero after she took matters into her own hands and saved a choking elementary school student.

Rita Robinette was driving her route as usual Thursday morning when elementary school student Cody Cochran all of a sudden tapped her on the shoulder.

"He was sitting there, and I looked up and something was wrong with him," Rita said.

Cody was choking on a key ring and was turning blue. Randolph County bus drivers are told to pull over and call 911 in an emergency.

But since Rita's route is 30 miles in one direction, she felt she was too far out to call for help.

So Rita pulled over, got all the other students off the bus and performed the Heimlich maneuver.

"It didn't work, so I told him to bend over and took my hands and hit him on the back, and it came out," Rita said.

Rita finished the route normally, and everyone got to school safely. Then it hit her what she had just done.

"It didn't bother me, until I got to school and that's when it scared me the most. Something could have happened, and I couldn't prevent it," Rita said.

"She knew she needed to help the child, and she acted heroically. She doesn't call herself a hero, but we do. She saved a child's life," said Jason Krpejs, principal at Cody's elementary school.

Cody's dad, Tommy Cochran, also appreciates what Rita did.

"I'm glad she was there and knew what to do. I don't think he would have made it. I'm grateful for that," Tommy said.