Stranger saves choking Huntsville teen inside Taco Bell

HPD officer’s son thanks hero who did Heimlich maneuver
Updated: Jun. 27, 2019 at 6:12 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - A Huntsville teen says a good Samaritan saved his life at a fast food restaurant.

He was choking and fell unconscious and the stranger rushed over to help when every second counted.

Garett Riley, 14, says a trip to the Hampton Cove Taco Bell last Friday afternoon could have cost him his life. He was with a friend enjoying a burrito and suddenly, he couldn’t breathe.

“I was just staring at my phone, just looking at some stuff and showing my friend. I got my last bite in and it didn’t go all the way down. I ran towards the trash can and just fell over,” Garett said.

He desperately tried to clear his throat, but nothing was working.

“I took a few sips of water and the water kept coming back up. I was grabbing at my throat. I was freaking out. I didn’t know what to do. I just blacked out,” Garett explained.

As he was losing consciousness, a man in a UPS uniform came over.

“The UPS guy caught me and asked if I was OK. He was standing in front of me and asking if I was alright and I just shook my head. After that I couldn’t remember. He did the Heimlich maneuver and after that, I came around. I wasn’t passed out anymore,” Garret added.

Garett is the son of Huntsville police Sgt. Chris Riley who was appreciative when he heard about the stranger who came to Garett’s aid.

“There’s so many great people in Huntsville. We live in a great city. The citizens here thank me all the time for my job and I appreciate that. This is just another instance of a good citizen that we have here in Huntsville stepping up,” Sgt. Riley said.

Garett didn’t catch the UPS employee’s name, but he shook his hand and thanked him after the scary ordeal. His family hopes the man knows how grateful they are for his quick actions.

“He saved my life,” Garett stated.

“It’s nice to know that other people here will help out if needed,” his father added. “A proper ‘thank you’ is in order. It was life threatening and we appreciate it.”

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