Zach Rush, a general service worker for the California City Police Department and alum of Desert Junior Senior High School, was dining at the Moo Creamery in Bakersfield, Calif., when a woman two tables down started to choke.
Rush, who had recently completed a three-month Emergency Medical Technician training at Cerro Coso Community College, noticed another bystander incorrectly performing the Heimlich maneuver.
Rush stepped in and took over the situation. He said it took several thrusts to dislodge the spicy burger she had ordered for lunch.
“It happened really fast. I was just thinking about what steps to take if the Heimlich didn’t work,” said Rush. “Then she grabbed my hand and gasped for air.”
The other patrons of the Moo Creamery stood to applaud Rush and the manager came out to shake his hand. After a short trip outside for fresh air, the woman returned to hug Rush and express her appreciation.
“It made me feel good because without my training, I couldn’t have done that. I probably would have just sat there and called 911,” said Rush.
Rush currently serves on the Desert Incident Response Team with the Cal City Police Department. He would like to work as an EMT and then enroll in a fire training program to pursue his career as a fire fighter.
“First aid response is a big help. If everybody would learn it, it would be a big help. It’s important to use and good to have in your life. Anybody could help someone out.”