The janitor at Kirkwood Elementary uses a Heimlich maneuver to save a student

KIRKWOOD, Mo. — On February 28, Robinson Elementary School principal Bryan Freeman became a hero, but if you ask him, he just did what anyone else would have done.

“I think it’s great that I could help,” Freeman said. “But a hero? Not really.”

Freeman was watching over students in the school cafeteria when a third grader started gagging. Without hesitation, Freeman rushed to the student’s aid.

“He was sitting at the table, sort of hunched over, and he was putting his shirt on,” Freeman said. “Tears ran down and spit came out of his mouth.”

He said he started the Heimlich maneuver and about 25 seconds later the student was able to breathe again.

“He’s always quick to respond,” said Angeline O’Neal-Hogrefe, principal of Robinson Elementary School. “I wasn’t at all surprised when I heard that he was the one who took action.”

The student was taken to the nurse’s office and his parents were notified. The next day, the third grader had a surprise for the man who saved his life.

“I’m standing there cleaning up the cafeteria and he sneaked up on me,” Freeman said. “He patted me on the back and I said, ‘Hey, how are you?’ He just hugged me. He gave me a card that said, “Thank you for saving my life. I’m fine now, but thanks. “I’m just glad he’s okay.” The janitor at Kirkwood Elementary uses a Heimlich maneuver to save a student

Sarah Y. Kim

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