NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A school safety officer is being called a hero after saving the life of a Manhattan student.
NYPD officer Tamara Jenkins was working Wednesday shortly before noon at PS 241, the STEM Institute of Manhattan, when she saw a staff member standing over a 9-year-old girl.
The girl was choking on an orange.
“As I approached the situation I realized the little girl was choking. I was running towards her and screaming ‘pick her up,’ because she was bent over the table,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins, 21, rushed over and used the Heimlich maneuver on the girl, who had been choking for about a minute, she said.
“I pumped about six times, and it came out. She couldn’t speak until it actually came out,” Jenkins said. “Once she started talking, I was relieved.”
Jenkins took the girl to the nurse to get checked out and to notify her parents.
When Jenkins and the girl were reunited the following day, the little girl she saved was happy to see her.
“She kept hugging me, and then the next day her grandma came and was like ‘Thank you so much’ and she was hugging me also,” she said. “And then yesterday, she was up under me all day, she was just like ‘Can I stay with you?'”
Jenkins has only been on the job for five months.
“I’m more relieved, I’m happy that it turned out that way, because it could’ve had a different turnout,” Jenkins said. “It’s shocking to me, honestly. I didn’t think it was going to happen so soon.”
Jenkins has had experience using the life-saving maneuver before, when her little brother – 10-years-old at the time – needed help.
“My little brother choked on a peppermint a couple of years ago,” she said. She did the exact same thing at the time, saving him.
“We are very proud of School Safety Officer Tamara Jenkins,” NYPD Assistant Commissioner of School Safety Ramon Garcia wrote on Twitter.