MT WASHINGTON, Ky. — It's a day Eastside Middle School will never forget. On February 28, the school almost lost one of their students before her bus driver and assistant principal saved her life.
"It was a normal day,” bus driver Michelle Crenshaw said. "Everything was going great."
Crenshaw said Zoe Thomas, 12, got on the bus after school just like she always does. She said hello and fist-bumped Crenshaw, but when she sat down with her best friend, Crenshaw knew something was wrong
"Within a minute, her best friend got on the bus and said Ms. Michelle, I don't think she's okay," Crenshaw said. "I looked in my rear-view mirror, and I knew I was in trouble."
Crenshaw took Thomas's pulse, feeling nothing. With 45 to 50 kids staring at her, Crenshaw jumped into action.
"Thank goodness, my 14-year-old daughter rides with me at all times after she gets out of high school, and she immediately picked up her phone and called 911 even before I told her to,” Crenshaw said.
Over the radio, Crenshaw called the school for help.
"I got the call that an administrator was needed on Bus 999,” Eastside Middle School Assistant Principal Kyle Buege said. "The young lady was white as a ghost, lips turned blue."
Buege helped get the other students off the bus and then did several rounds of CPR with Crenshaw.
"The prayers started immediately, and I didn't know how hard I could pray until I was in that position," Buege said. "Knowing that she's going to come out of it just tells me that God is still in the business of answering prayers, and I'm very thankful for it."
Doctors said Thomas had an aortic aneurysm and had to get her spleen removed. Thomas had never had problems before, but should be okay after a few more days in the hospital.
"Walt Disney World has nothing on this kid because of the roller coaster ride she's had all of us on,” Crenshaw said.
It’s been a wild ride that now comes with a future made possible by a foundation and fate.
"That kid is going to do big, huge things. That's what I told her,” Crenshaw said. "She will forever be a part of me, and I will forever be a part of her life.”
Crenshaw said she wants to make it mandatory for bus drivers to get CPR certified before they can get their license. She thinks "Zoe's Law" would be a perfect name for it.
"There's a reason why I was supposed to be there, so I need to take something away with it, too, and that is what I'm going to take,” Crenshaw said.
For now, Crenshaw said the moment is reminding her of how precious life can be.
"To think that she got on the bus and fist bumped me one second, and sat down and [was sick] within a minute is so unfathomable to me," Crenshaw said. "Life is so precious, and we don't realize it a lot of times just how quickly something like that can happen."