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Custodian saves student's life

October 07, 2009
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PICO RIVERA, CA — Rio Vista Elementary School Head Custodian Joel Garcia typically wanders the cafeteria looking for spills to clean up; only this time, there was a much larger task at hand, according to the Whittier Daily News.
Garcia, who has worked with the El Rancho Unified School District for more than 20 years, heard a group of students shouting, and when he approached them, he noticed Marcus Gomez choking on a mini cheeseburger, the story stated.
Garcia said: “I asked Marcus questions, but he couldn''t answer. I was scared. Everyone was concerned. There have been first-aid incidents, but this was more serious. It was harder to get the food out because I had to hold him while applying pressure to his stomach.”
Garcia, who has performed the Heimlich maneuver on another child and a 45-year-old woman at his other job as a security guard at the Westfield West Covina Mall, did not panic and instinctively did what he knew to save the boy, the story noted.
Gomez, who blacked out during the incident, says he has lost his appetite for mini cheeseburgers, the story added.
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