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‘Let me thank you’: 10-year-old girl awarded for saving teacher from choking

Published: May. 28, 2022 at 7:04 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) - Priya Smith is your typical 10-year-old, but she also likes helping people, which is why it comes as no surprise she sprang into action to help her teacher, who started choking.

“We were allowed to eat outside that day, and then Mr. Buttrey took a bite of his hamburger and started choking,” Priya said.

She also said panic mode was starting to set in for everyone in the group.

“Kids were just freaking out, and some kids were banging on the windows. So, I just took his lanyard and got into the building,” Priya said.

She grabbed the teacher’s key card to get back inside the school and ran for help.

“I just wasn’t thinking; I didn’t have any second thoughts. I just yanked it from him and got in the building,” Priya said.

Priya’s fourth-grade teacher Stephen Buttrey said he is alive because of her quick thinking.

“These kids are under my care. I’m supposed to be taking care of them, and I was in a position where I needed their help. It was scary,” Buttrey said.

Since Priya went above and beyond to save Buttrey’s life, he said he wanted to go the extra mile to say thank you.

“I tell my kids I love them all the time. And I told her immediately, let me thank you and appreciate you,” Buttrey said.

The Dickson County Sheriff’s Office also awarded Priya for her bravery.

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