SOUTH SALT LAKE — A 12-year-old boy is being called a hero after he performed the Heimlich maneuver on his friend when the boy started choking during their school lunch.
Omar Troyo is a sixth-grader at Alianza Academy in South Salt Lake. He was sitting next to Byron De Leon, a fourth-grader at the school, when a cucumber became stuck in Byron's throat.
“I said something funny to Byron. All of the sudden, Byron gave me this sign. I started panicking, and I moved my chair, and I jumped over the table,” Omar said.
“It went down my throat. I couldn’t swallow it, and I started holding my throat, and I stood up. I banged the table, and I started holding my throat,” Bryon said.
“I started hitting him on the back, and that didn’t work so I tried to do the Heimlich maneuver," Omar said. "It worked, and he spit (the cucumber) out."
Omar learned the Heimlich maneuver after watching his mom perform it on his grandfather. He asked her to teach him.
“I told him that I owe him one,” Bryon said.
“I remember saying that I would always be there for him,” Omar said.
Lluvia Rose, Omar’s mom, was shocked when she picked him up from school and heard he actually used what she taught him.
“Oh man, I was crying. I had tears running down my face," Rose said. "Wow, it was quite the moment."
The Alianza Academy honored Omar with the ‘Life Saving Award.’
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me,” Omar said.
“If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here,” Bryon said.