The school recognizes an 8-year-old hero who saved a student from choking

A little hero who acted heroically when a classmate began choking during a recent lunchtime meal has been acknowledged. Jordan Nguyen, a music teacher at Lakeview Elementary School in Norman, Oklahoma, told Good Morning America about the remarkable occurrence that occurred in a matter of seconds. “It was chicken nugget day and the kids absolutely love it. But during that lunch, a teacher’s and parent’s worst nightmare happened,” Nguyen said. Cashton York, a third grader at Lakeview, “took a bite and started choking,” she revealed. “He couldn’t breathe.”

“Immediately, the boys around him stood up and started screaming for help from me, who was the adult in the room at the time,” Nguyen said, adding that Cashton had been facing away from her. “I was on the other side of the cafeteria and when I heard them scream, I ran to the students. However, there was one student, Garrett, who went way above and beyond just shouting for help.” Garrett Brown, a third-grade student, immediately began doing the Heimlich technique on his classmate. “Instead of shouting, he jumped to the other side of the table, went behind Cashton, and did a couple of thrusts of the Heimlich maneuver, and it only took about two thrusts and he was able to dislodge the food,” Nguyen recounted. “By the time I reached Cashton, the food had already dislodged and he was breathing again.”

Garrett reported to ABC News Oklahoma City station KOCO that he learned the Heimlich maneuver from his father. “When it was done, we all took a breath and thought, ‘Did that just happen? Was that for real? Did this really just happen?’ And we had to go back and watch the security footage just to be sure that ‘Oh, that is what happened. Oh, my goodness,'” Nguyen recalled. “It was pretty mind-blowing.”

Cashton, who was terrified, was immediately taken to their school nurse, who checked him and contacted his parents. Although the boy was angry and weeping at first, it was later determined that he was “perfectly fine.” Nguyen claimed Cashton returned to the cafeteria about 15 minutes later to devour another dish of chicken nuggets.

Tiffany Smith, Cashton’s mother, expressed gratitude to Garrett for acting quickly when her son began choking. 

“That was extremely scary to know that in a matter of seconds, my child could have choked to death on food at school when you’re not around,” Smith said. 

“There aren’t enough words to express how grateful I am for saving him.” Nguyen presented Garrett with a special “Hero Award” certificate on behalf of Lakeview Elementary at a school assembly last Friday. “Garrett was taken aback. He had no idea he was going to receive that honor that day” he stated. 

“The Norman fire department and police department came out to also congratulate him and it was funny, both departments told Garrett that they have a job lined up for him whenever he gets older… he was so proud and so excited. I think he definitely has a future in some sort of life-saving career.”

In light of the occurrence, Lakeview staff intends to provide first aid classes for pupils at the school. “We’re starting to do extra classes, life skills sort of things, and one of the classes that we plan to offer is a basic, kid-friendly first aid class,” Nguyen explained. 

“That way, if they are out somewhere or if they’re home alone, or if they’re home with their siblings and something does happen, they’ll know what to do.”