Bedford County teacher's aide named a 'hero' after using the heimlich to save student
BEDFORD (WSLS 10) For brothers Caleb and Carsen Sims, eating breakfast at Big Island Elementary in Bedford County is a regular routine. Six-year-old Caleb was eating a banana, one of his favorites, when a scary situation started.
Carsen saw his little brother choke on the fruit from across the table.
"His face was red and the banana was sticking out," said Carsen.
The cafeteria camera video shows Caleb sitting at the middle lunch table at the bottom left of the screen. After another student, Caleb's brother and other staff rushed to help. A teacher's aide jumped into action.
"I said what is going on, is he choking? So I just ran over there got him and moved him and started doing the Heimlich Maneuver on him. I've never done it before. Something got into me that this is what needed to be done," said Angelika Gutierrez, Big Island Elementary teacher's aide.
"Miss Angel picked me up and put me down and told me to spit it out," said Caleb. Angelika Gutierrez, known as Mrs. Angel to her students, said she's no hero, but just an ordinary person. Caleb and his family think otherwise.
"Cause she helped me," said Caleb.
"Thank God Miss Angel knew how to do it correctly. She did no harm to him at all," said Samantha Sims, Caleb's mother.
Since the incident this week, Gutierrez said Caleb, will have now a special place in her heart
"I told him he was going to be my soul mate for the rest of our lives and he just smiled," said Gutierrez. After the incident was over, she also has a word of advice for Caleb to prevent a similar situation in the future.
"I went to check on him and said 'remember, small bites, don't talk with food in your mouth, chew it up good and take a drink,' and he just smiled at me," said Gutierrez.
Now in the first grade, Gutierrez has known Caleb since kindergarten.
"I call him Spanky from the 'Little Rascals.' He's a good kid," she said.
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