FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --A valley school bus driver who rescued a boy from a vicious dog attack was recognized for his heroic efforts Monday.
Nearly six months ago 9-year-old Ricardo Carrillo was attacked by a pair of vicious dogs while walking with a friend through San Joaquin. His friend was able to get away but the two German Shepherds wouldn't let go of him.
Just a few minutes went by before Ruben Mendoza showed up while driving on his usual bus route after school.
"When I pulled over I was dropping off kids from my bus and that's when I noticed the two dogs attacking a little boy," Mendoza recounted. "I immediately shut the door and went towards it, towards where they were being attacked."
Mendoza pulled the dogs off of Carrillo and was able to fight them off with a tire iron. His heroic actions are why the community and the California Highway Patrol gathered Monday morning to honor him at San Joaquin Elementary School.
"I think that sometimes that people forget about the professionalism and skill level that drive these school buses," CHP commissioner Joe Farrow said. "I don't think they're always appreciated to the full extent."
Farrow presented Mendoza with the CHP's School Bus Driver of the Year award. The award is handed out to those who are nominated for their actions to prevent injury or loss of life.
Mendoza was humble when he received the award.
"It's an honor," he said. "It's recognition and I appreciated it very much."
He was also honored for a lifetime achievement of safe driving for Golden Plains Unified and received recognition from the Fresno County Board of Supervisors.
Carrillo has recovered physically from his injuries but is still a little emotional when talking about that frightful walk with his friend.
"He told Ruben where I live and so Ruben went where I live and he told my mom," the boy said.
The CHP gave Carrillo a teddy bear as a helpful reminder of what Mendoza did to save his life.
"He's the best bus driver in the whole wide world," Carrillo exclaimed.
Farrow says the entire community needs to get behind Mendoza to let him know he is indeed a hero.
"He's pretty humble over there," Farrow explained. "He doesn't think he did anything but that's really what all heroes say that but he truly is one."