Sixth grader James Dawson was eating his lunch one day at Robinson Middle School in Plano, Texas, when he accidentally swallowed a piece of the plastic wrapping his food.
He started to choke and grasp his throat. Panic quickly set in when he realized he couldn’t breathe.
“It felt sharp in my throat. Very sharp. And it was just hurting,” James explained, adding, “I was like, ‘Oh shoot, I’m gonna die. I’m gonna choke on this.'”
Thankfully, one of James’s classmates, a boy he didn’t know very well, happened to be walking by at just the right time. Not only that, but 11-year-old Arad Arbasi knew exactly what to do. He saw James clutching at his throat in the universal sign for choking, and noted the boy’s face had turned “completely purple.”
“So I run behind him and I start doing the Heimlich maneuver,” said Arad. “And I eventually I hear him yell, ‘It’s out! It’s out!'”
Arad says he’d learned how to do the Heimlich from a book several years ago. He also watched a video on the tactic recently, so he understands the physics behind the movement.
“What it does is it pushes air through the airway to throw whatever is in there out,” he explained. Arad’s parents admit that they didn’t have any idea their son knew how to do the Heimlich, but they’re so glad he did!
That night, James went home and told his mother Frances Salinas what had happened. She immediately wanted to know the name of the child who’d saved her son, so she took to Plano’s local Facebook parenting group to seek him out.
“If your son goes to Robinson, is in 6th grade, and his name starts with an ‘A’. He is a hero. Your son saved my son’s life today and performed the Heimlich maneuver while he choked at lunch,” she wrote.
Arad’s mother Mahnoosh Emami wrote her back, and the families have now become friends!
Arad and James say the choking incident inspired a close friendship, and James is incredibly grateful to his friend for stepping in to help when others didn’t even notice he was in distress.
“He knew what to do and I’m glad he knew what to do,” James said, “Otherwise I probably wouldn’t be talking.”
Way to go, Arad! What a clever young man. We’re so glad this story has a happy ending.
Please share to encourage others to learn life saving techniques, too.
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