NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The owners of a Staten Island eatery sprang into action during a dramatic restaurant rescue.
CBS2 obtained exclusive video of the lifesaving maneuver that saved a customer’s life.
Andrew Plaitis’ whole career has been owning restaurants.
Three weeks ago he opened up his latest with friends, called “Juicy Lucy” in Ocean Breeze. They serve up barbecue food and – what’s not on the menu – a side order of safety.
“I wasn’t nervous, I knew exactly what to do,” Plaitis said.
On a Monday night, a family of five was sitting down for dinner when all of a sudden a man who appeared to be in his 80s started to choke.
The co-owner of Juicy Lucy saw the whole thing unfold and quickly got Andrew’s attention.
“It was really a spontaneous thing, a split second, like Batman,” Richard Holmes said.
“Obviously, we never hope that happens again but I am so happy we were able to do this at the spur of a moment.”
The exclusive video captures Plaitis jumping right in to perform the Heimlich maneuver.
“I went behind the guy, he was a bigger guy, older man, I just picked him up, gave him one shot and the food came out,” Plaitis explained.
The restaurateur said he was never formally trained to do the Heimlich, learning it from TV. With more than a decade in the industry, he has performed the move five times now. The restaurateur was overjoyed to save another life.
“He was happy. He said I am happy and I am breathing.”
The restaurant owners now plan on training every single one of their staff members to learn how to do the lifesaving technique.