TACOMA, Wash. -- Audrey McCray remembers seeing the video on the news of her son passing out at the wheel of a school bus.
"I couldn't' believe that was really my son," said McCray. "It just shocked me."
43-year-old Ryan Callis had just gotten his job as a school bus driver two months ago. He was driving the kids to Surprise Lake Middle School Monday when he lost consciousness.
Two 13 year old boys who were riding the bus are now getting national attention for what they did next. Jeremy Wuitschick grabbed the wheel, and steered the bus to safety. Johnny Wood stepped in to help with chest compressions.
Wuitschick and Wood told their story on NBC’s “Today” show Thursday. The interview was conducted before the family confirmed Callis’ death.
Callis' cousin says he would rest easier knowing the kids were okay.
"It would have been a disaster, where many people were hurt or possibly killed," said Reggie Green.
McCray says the boys deserve the praise they're getting, but it's been difficult seeing the video over and over again know every second that goes by, her only child's chances of survival were diminishing.
"When he's passed out he was out too long," she says. "It's just as simple as that."
Callis is a former Pierce Transit driver and Fort Lewis veteran. He was also a husband, and father of three. His oldest son just became a father and lives in Houston. Callis never got to meet his granddaughter.
"He liked being around family a lot," said McCray. "He cared, he cared about people."
Callis never regained consciousness. His family is still waiting to hear from doctors what killed him. His funeral is Saturday at 6 p.m. at the House of Scott Funeral Home.