(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A nine-year-old girl in North Carolina came to the rescue when her bus driver suffered a heart attack. According to Queen City News, Rowan County school bus driver Rita Sturdivant woke up feeling ill one morning in December, but didn’t let that stop her from doing the job she loves. “That morning when I got up, I did not feel like going to work,” she recalled, “But I went anyway.”

After finishing her first route and picking up a few students for her second run in Salisbury, the 72-year-old realized that she wasn’t going to be able to continue, so she pulled the bus over and turned on the hazard blinkers. She then called over the oldest and most responsible child on the bus, nine-year-old Rylie Miclette. Sturdivant had Rylie use her radio to call for help.

When no one answered over the radio, Sturdivant asked the fourth grader to use her cell phone to call the school and Sturdivant’s daughter. Overton Elementary School principal Marae Reid and Sturdivant’s daughter arrived a few minutes later. Reid stayed with the students while their bus driver was taken to the hospital, where they soon discovered she’d had a heart attack.

Rita Sturdivant is now on the road to recovery and plans to return to work. She says she’s forever bonded to the student who helped save her life. “She did all she could for me, and I am so grateful to Rylie to this day,” she says. And Rylie feels the same way, saying, “I love Ms. Sturdivant, and I’m happy that I helped her.”

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