GARLAND, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – First responders sign up to save lives, but a Garland ISD bus driver is being hailed as a hero.

It’s not because of any danger he avoided on the roads, but because he spotted trouble lying in it: a teenage boy.

“I got out and went down and felt for a pulse and there wasn’t one,” recalls Jim Griffin of the September incident. “I rolled him over and turned out it was one of my kids.”

Nabil Mahmoud, 16, was born with a heart defect that the family thought had been repaired. His collapsing in the street was a horrific way to learn that it wasn’t.

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Nabil Mahmoud meets and thanks Jim Griffin (CBS11)

“I forgot my wallet,” he recalled with a shy laugh. “I went home to grab my wallet. I was running back and I guess I just passed out when I was running.”

The situation was dire. “No pulse, no nothing,” says Griffin. “He was dead. A paramedic told me years ago, if you’re doing CPR, there’s no place to go but up.”

So with a 911 call taker on the line summoning help, Griffin continued the chest compressions until a police officer arrived several minutes later.

“It’s incredible that the bus driver was there at the right time to make it work,” says Garland Officer Bedran Nosic, “because a lot of times it doesn’t.”

“I didn’t know what was going on. I just remember waking up at the hospital,” said Nabil.

Another miracle in his journey: Doctors at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center Lake Pointe say the teen’s heart stopped again at the hospital. And yet through the collective efforts of everyone who came to his aid, not only did Nabil survive, but he did so without suffering any brain damage connected to the loss of oxygen.

“He’s very lucky,” said his stepfather Fakher Abdul-Amir. “He’s very lucky.”

So on Wednesday, Griffin joined the police officers, paramedics, 911 call taker and even the hospital staff so Nabil could deliver Thanksgiving ‘thank yous’ in person.

“Best thanks I ever got was when he got back on my bus,” says Griffin, his eyes filling with tears.