'Just stepping up to the plate': District 211 bus driver helps save man in drive-through lane
A veteran school bus driver who'd just finished her morning shift for Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 helped resuscitate a man suffering a medical emergency Wednesday in a McDonald's drive-through lane in Hoffman Estates.
"I just thank God I was in the right place at the right time," Marietta Schild of Itasca said Monday.
Schild, who's been a bus driver for 23 years and with District 211 for the last five, was in her own vehicle about 8:15 a.m. when she stopped at the McDonald's at 1070 Roselle Road.
Being there was not part of her normal routine.
"I just had a taste for McDonald's," she said.
She had just placed her order when she heard a crash in front of her. Getting out of her vehicle, she saw that the van just ahead of her in line had rear-ended a construction vehicle in front of it.
Schild saw the driver of the van appear to lose consciousness. She approached and determined that the man, who appeared to be in his 40s, had no pulse.
"I kept yelling for someone to call 911," she said.
The driver was a dead weight that she couldn't move on her own. She was joined by at least two men, who she believes were likely the driver of the construction vehicle and the passenger of the van, in getting the unresponsive man out and onto the grass next to the lane.
Schild began delivering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation while instructing one of the men on how to give the van driver chest compressions.
She said she there was an overwhelming sense of relief when, after what seemed an unmeasurable amount of time, she felt a pulse.
Though school bus drivers are trained in various types of first aid, Schild said she originally learned about CPR from the 1990s television show "Rescue 911" hosted by William Shatner.
Though this was the first time she used CPR, she's rendered aid during other medical emergencies, including a student having a seizure and an adult suffering a diabetic problem at a gas station.
Schild initially encountered some difficulty learning the fate of the man she'd helped last Wednesday. But she was high-fiving colleagues Monday afternoon when District 211 officials learned from Hoffman Estates first responders that the man had survived.
Schild said she's always stood ready to help those in need. The most important part of bus driver training is to remain aware of one's surroundings and be able to respond appropriately, she said.
"It was just stepping up to the plate and doing what I needed to do," Schild said. "I love my job. I love what I do. I take my job seriously. I tell the kids that when you're on my bus, you're my kids."
District 211 officials said Monday that Schild's actions will be recognized at an upcoming board of education meeting.