Thirteen-year-old Brandon Williams loves to watch Sponge Bob Squarepants, so when he spotted his classmate choking on an apple during lunch, he knew just what to do, having seen it on the popular cartoon show.
Brandon, who is autistic, quickly jumped up, pulled his classmate, Jessica Pellegrino, to her feet, and applied the Heimlich maneuver. Wrapping his arms around her mid-section, he gave a sharp thrust to her diaphragm, and she spit out the offender: a tricky piece of apple skin still attached to a morsel of fruit.
“I went like this,” said Brandon, demonstrating the motion on his father, Anthony, in their Great Kills home, a few days after the Oct. 28 incident.
“Where did you learn that?” asked his dad.
“Learned it on Sponge Bob,” Brandon answered instantly, in a rapid staccato voice.
“He picks up on things that most of us would miss, and files it all away in his head, and he can recall it all in an instant,” his dad explained. “That’s how he knew instantly what to do. And we’re glad he did. We’re proud of him.”
The young man’s quick, life-saving reaction comes on the heels of a 7-year-old Brooklyn student passing away days after she choked on her food during lunch.
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