Darryl Washington doesn't take a single breath for granted, because Sunday afternoon, they nearly stopped for good.

"I wasn’t getting no air," Darryl said.

The father of three young children suffers from Interstitial Lung Disease and occasionally has coughing fits, but he hasn't experienced anything quite like this.

"Next thing you know, I was just sitting on my scooter. I couldn’t move. My oxygen level was dropping down," he said.

His oldest, 10-year-old Nikolaus Washington, instantly saw something was wrong.

"He started to shake and his skin color started to turn blue so I got his inhaler after I called my mom she told me to get his inhaler," Nikolaus said.

When that didn't work, he dialed 911 and answered every question with poise beyond his years.

"He knew the right things to say and everything," his dad said as he fought back tears.

Paramedics have told Darryl, it wasn't a moment too soon.

"He said, Mr. Washington, you have a brave son. If it wasn’t for your son calling when he did, you’d be riding to the hospital with no sirens," Darryl said.

Nikolaus took charge of the situation in every way, including shielding his younger siblings from all this trauma.

"I took them to the back so they wouldn’t have to experience the things I had with my Dad right there," said the 10-year-old.

Nikolaus admits, he was scared.

"I just love him so much I couldn’t do nothing else but help him," said Nikolaus.

But when his father's lungs failed him, Nikolaus provided his heart.

"If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here," Darryl said.

Nikolaus is also Reporter Chris Davis's little brother in the Eastern Missouri Chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters.

"When I signed up - so many of you told me I would learn so much from my little brother," Davis said. "I didn’t realize a lesson in bravery would come this quickly."