“SHE SAVED THIS STUDENT’S LIFE,” said Ms. Julie Van Lear in an email about Berks County Intermediate Unit (BCIU) Bus Driver, Ms. Yudelca Matias. Those are not words you often hear when referring to someone’s typical day transporting students to and from school, but on a regular Thursday transportation run, Yudelca did just that.
A student on the bus Yudelca was driving came walking up the bus aisle waving her arms and motioning to her throat. She was choking on her lunch. Yudelca remained calm, pulled over as soon as she safely could (on the Route 12 bypass), and performed the Heimlich maneuver. Yudelca attributed her quick thinking and life-saving skills to the training she received for her job as a driver for the BCIU. She also works with a child with special needs on the weekends and values the training she has in health and safety.
When Transportation administrators and BCIU leadership learned of Yudelca’s life-saving act, they knew she was the true definition of a BCIU Champion. The BCIU Champion Award is given to an individual for their commitment to the BCIU, its students, customers, and partners.
On Thursday morning, May 12, 2022, Yudelca was presented with the BCIU Champion Award by BCIU administration. Both surprised and grateful for the recognition, Yudelca shared that she feels the safety of the students she transports is the most important part of her job. Her focus is always on safety, taking care of the children, and making sure they are getting to and from school safely.
When asked what she likes about her job, Yudelca said she enjoys being a driver because she loves kids.
Ms. Julie Van Lear, Transportation Supervisor for Reading School District and Special Needs, said of Yudelca’s recognition as BCIU Champion, “She is incredible. When we were driving one afternoon, we started chatting and she told me that story like it was nothing. Like it was just another day in the life of a bus driver. I immediately got chills and tears listening to her explain to me what happened. I thought to myself, everyone needs to hear about this. This is a wonderful recognition for her. She absolutely deserves it. How many people in their lifetime can say that they saved someone’s life?”