ROCKY POINT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A veteran Long Island custodian, on the job for 20 years, jumped in to save a teen who fainted after choking in the school cafeteria.
As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Monday, there were anxious moments of silence followed applause and tears.READ MORE: New York State Hospital Workers Must Get Vaccinated, No Testing Option, Cuomo Says; State Reviewing New CDC Mask Guidance
“My friends said that I literally turned purple,” said 15-year-old Avery Ward, a student at Rocky Point High School. “And then I passed out. So I don’t really remember what happened.”
After not breathing at all, Avery is breathing a sigh of relief thanks to the heroics of David Cook, the high school’s custodian.
“The adrenaline took over. I don’t really remember much of it,” Cook said. “Afterwards, I started shaking.”
It was lunchtime when the emergency alert went out.
“We had a student that was choking and we all went running down to the cafeteria,” said Principal Jonathan Hart.
“I was just sitting with my friends at lunch and we were all just eating french fries,” said Avery. “And then, I took a bite of one, and then I started to laugh.”
The aspirated french fry entered Avery’s windpipe.READ MORE: Brooklyn Plumber Daniel Christmann Facing Charges In Connection To U.S. Capitol Riot
“And I was kind of like hitting my neck and my friends were like, ‘Oh, are you OK? Are you OK?’ And then I tried to say, ‘I’m not,'” Avery said.
“I sprinted into action,” Cook said. “Grabbing her from behind, lifting her up. It took me about five thrusts to get it dislodged out of her mouth.”
“I kind of woke up to Mr. Cook and everyone standing around me,” Avery explained. “Everyone was silent, like the entire lunchroom.”
Cook learned the Heimlich maneuver from a poster hanging in the high school hallway.
“Thank God that Mr. Cook was there, honestly,” Avery said. “If he wasn’t there, I don’t know. I don’t know what would’ve happened.”
Avery said no more laughing or talking while eating. And she’ll be avoiding french fries, for now.
“It’s overwhelming, just glad it all worked out like that,” Cook said.
This is Cook’s second rescue. He also saved his young son who choked on cereal.MORE NEWS: Kyra's Law: Long Island Mother Pushing Bills To Protect Children In Custody Battles Involving Abusive Parents
The school board plans to honor Cook’s heroism.