Metro RTA is thanking a passenger who stepped in to help stop a bus earlier this month when the driver had a medical emergency.

Jennifer Simmons was driving the No. 4 bus on West Market Street at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 7 when she suddenly started feeling ill. Passenger Shirley Blanks, who is a longtime friend, talked with the driver and then got up from her seat to help Simmons stop the bus and put it in park.

“In my mind I kept saying, ‘I got to keep my foot on the brake,’ ” Simmons said in a prepared statement released Monday. “I never took my foot off the brake.”

Blanks flagged down another bus that was passing through the area for help. Driver Angela Mullins pulled her bus over and contacted a Metro road supervisor, who then called 911.

“Operator Mullins followed the appropriate procedures that all of our operators, dispatchers and staff are trained to follow if situations like this occur,” Director of Operations DeHavilland McCall said in a prepared statement. “We are thankful for the Good Samaritan in recognizing that operator Simmons needed medical attention and immediately took action.”

Simmons, whose illness wasn’t disclosed, was hospitalized after the incident. She is back on the job now.

Metro, Summit County’s public bus company, noted that Blanks typically boards a later bus from the Robert K. Pfaff Transit Center in Akron, but she got off of work early that day and boarded Simmons’ bus.

“Between her and operator Mullins, I give it all to them for keeping me safe,” Simmons said.