Victoria Terrill said she was driving with her 3-year-old son Chaz after dinner on Friday when the boy started to choke.
She assumed the boy was struggling with a piece of candy, Terrill told KFOR, so she pulled over in a car wash parking lot and frantically asked anyone for help.
“I threw my hands up and I screamed as loud as I could, 'I need help,'” she told the TV station. “'I need help.'”
The mother told KOCO that she tried to get the object out of her son — but she didn't know how.
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"You know I was panicking," she said, "and it sucks that I didn't know what to do."
Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Deputy William Wheeler noticed the distressed mother as he drove by, according to The Shawnee News-Star. So he pulled over and tried to dislodge whatever was causing the boy to choke.
After a few tries, the boy coughed up a quarter, as seen in body camera footage obtained by The Shawnee News-Star.
That led Terrill to label him as a "guardian angel," according to The Shawnee News-Star.
But Wheeler said it's a stroke of luck that he was even in the area that day. He explained why to KFOR.
“I usually go a different way when I go to the district that I work,” he said. “For whatever reason, I just happened to drive by that area at that time."
“I'm glad I was there and I'm glad I was able to save his life," he added to KFOR, "but I know anybody else in that situation would've done the same."
Still, the boy's mom said she's left wondering what would have happened if Wheeler wasn't in the right place at the right time.
"If it wasn't for him," she told KTRK, "we don't know if we'd be sitting here right now."