I’m Like a Superhero, But All Emo.

I was at a philosophy conference in Portland a few years ago, and just outside of a session room a woman speaking with a few colleagues started choking on her cough drop. A couple of people tried to give her the Heimlich Maneuver, but they were too short to get any leverage: she was tall, and no one thought in that moment that she could kneel down so they could achieve the correct angle. So they stood around a bit helplessly, watching her panic rise.

“Does anyone know the Heimlich?!?” someone shouted down the hall. Their group was at one end, then there was me coming out of a door, and another group down at the other end of the hall. I thought to myself, ” I think I know the Heimlich. I took that course when i was 16.” I also saw that I was the closest person to her, and was tall enough to get the leverage I would need. So…

…I totally did the Heimlich Maneuver. I expected the cough drop to shoot out of her mouth and shatter against the wall, but nothing happened at first. Then she tapped my arm and managed a weak “It’s out” before spitting it delicately into her hand.

I didn’t know what to do at that point. I kind of didn’t want anyone to look at me. So I said “You’ll be okay” and then I found the nearest stairwell and hurried down to the lobby.

And like a flash, he was gone.

I went outside to calm down a little, and saw that the Emergency Responders had been called out. I told them where the woman was, and that her airway was clear, and then I watched them rush into the building.

I remained outside and wished I still smoked.

5 thoughts on “I’m Like a Superhero, But All Emo.”

  1. My wife totally Heimliched me at a big Thanksgiving dinner attended by a bunch of Hollywood types we didn't know. I swallowed the dislodged piece of turkey. We got a standing ovation. My wife was all, "Whatever…I do this all the time,"

  2. Well I didn't hear anything about Elmo in the story. What's up with that??

  3. Awesome story. To a group of people somewhere, you're a hero. Even better that you walked away. We need more people to help out like this.

  4. One of my friends did the heimlech on a guy choking on some steak at a restaurant.  He bought their entire meal for them. 

    Least she could've done was give you a cough drop… jk.  Great work! 

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