04/09/1998 AT 12:00 AM EDT
Ex-"Diff'rent Strokes" star Todd Bridges, 35, has been credited on with saving the life of a paraplegic woman whose wheelchair rolled into a lake while she was fishing, reports the Associated Press. The incident involving Bridges, who played Willis on the popular sitcom, occurred on Thursday in a San Fernando Valley, Calif., park and was made public on Friday. Stella Kline, 50, said that her electric wheelchair lurched into the water after her fishing line caught on the chair's controls. Bridges happened to be fishing nearby with his brother, James. The former TV actor freed Kline, who was trapped in three feet of water. "I was thanking God that he was there," said Kline. "And you know, everybody's been saying nothing but bad stuff about Todd Bridges on the news and in the papers . . . He has a heart of gold." Bridges had made headlines in the '80s and '90s thanks to some brushes with the law. Said Bridges of his rescue efforts: "We felt God put us there at the right time to save this lady's life, because there was no one else around."