In seconds, lunchtime in a school cafeteria could have turned into tragedy if it weren’t for the quick action of an 8-year-old child.
Garrett Brown is a third-grader at Lakeview Elementary School in Norman, Oklahoma. He and his friends were eating chicken nuggets for lunch when classmate Cashton York started to choke. When he couldn’t breathe, his classmates jumped up to alert a teacher.
Music teacher Jordan Nguyen was on lunch duty that day. She recalls hearing a commotion and seeing the kids running towards her, but by the time she reached Cashton’s side, the emergency was over. Instead of panicking, Garrett had leaped to his feet to help his friend.
“Instead of shouting, he jumped to the other side of the table, went behind Cashton and did a couple thrusts of the Heimlich maneuver, and it only took about two thrusts and he was able to dislodge the food,” Jordan recalled. “By the time I reached Cashton, the food had already dislodged and he was breathing again.”
A shaken-up Cashton was taken to the school nurse, but he was fine. After his parents were notified, the student returned to the cafeteria to get a new plate of nuggets! Meanwhile, Jordan and the other staff members were left in a state of shock.
“When it was done, we all took a breath and thought, ‘Did that just happen? Was that for real? Did this really just happen?'” said Jordan. “And we had to go back and watch the security footage just to be sure that ‘Oh, that is what happened. Oh, my goodness.’ It was pretty mind-blowing.”
Cashton’s mother, Tiffany Smith, said she can never thank Garrett enough for helping her son.
“Extremely scary to know in a matter of seconds my child could have choked to death on food, at school when you’re not around,” Tiffany said. “There are not enough words to be grateful for saving him.”
Garrett later revealed that he’d once been choking and his dad saved him. His father then taught him how to save someone else if they needed help.
Jordan and the rest of the faculty, staff, and students at Lakeview Elementary thanked Garrett for his lifesaving action with a special assembly and “Hero Award” certificate. The Norman fire and police departments came to honor a fellow hero, and Garrett was very proud.
The school district plans to add more life skills classes for students in the coming months. They will teach first aid, CPR, and other lifesaving skills so that they can save the day too, just like Garrett!
The Norman emergency services crew says he’s got a job waiting for him when he’s old enough! Some people are just born heroes.
Share this story to thank Garrett for saving his friend’s life.
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