Bus passenger honored for jumping into action during driver’s medical emergency

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AKRON, Ohio -- A passenger on a Metro RTA bus in Akron is being hailed a hero for her actions during an emergency.

The driver, Jennifer Simmons, became ill as the bus was moving and that's when the passenger, Shirley Blanks, got involved.

"She starts not feeling well. She realizes that she's in distress so she kind of -- and the passenger knows that she's in distress, so she comes up to her, tries to help her out of the situation," Said Molly Becker with Metro RTA.

Simmons suffered the medical emergency as she was operating the bus on Market Street during evening rush hour.

Blanks, who has known Simmons for years but had never ridden on her bus before, realized Simmons was in trouble. She quietly urged her to stop the bus, but Simmons didn't respond. Blanks did not give up until Simmons eventually stopped the bus and put it in park.

Blanks flagged down another bus that was passing by; the driver of that bus called 911.

Metro RTA is paying tribute to Blanks for being a good passenger and a good Samaritan. "It could have been such a disaster; I mean, she's on the busiest route, going down the busiest road at prime traffic time, so what she did to help the driver, Jennifer, there's no price you can put on that," Becker told FOX 8.

Blanks is being honored with a free pass and flowers.

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