Friday, July 22, 2005

Yesterday I was riding the 6 train downtown. The train pulled into the 33rd Street station and the doors opened. A blast of super-heated, sticky, wet air blew into the train. A young blonde woman brushed past me as she stepped out. When she stepped onto the platform she started to falter and wilt, she was going down.

I jumped out of the train and caught her in my arms. She passed out cold. I picked her up in my arms and carried her up the stairs into the fresh air. A kind stranger handed me some water which I sprinkled on her face, she came to and after a few moments was able to stand and go on her way.

All the excitement made me hungry. So I walked two blocks and ducked into the local diner.

I ordered a Turkey Club with Swiss and extra mayo. I contentedly sat there reading the Daily News, sipping my coke and eating my sandwich when I heard a high pitched shriek of fear.

"My papa, my papa, he's choking, somebody help" I dropped my triangle of club sandwich and jumped up. I ran to their table. I grabbed the old man by the arms, pulled him out of the pale lime green booth and wrapped my arms around his waist.

There it was, flashing before my eyes, that blue, orange and white poster, with the steps and techniques printed in black. I was performing the Heimlich maneuver.

After three or four hard pulls under his diaphragm, a blue-green olive pit shot out of the his mouth and landed with a tap, tap, tap on the floor. The diner erupted in a round of applause. The woman was hugging me and kissing me and thanking me.

I said "you are very welcome miss," I sat back down and ate my club sandwich.

When I went to pay the owner said, "no, lunch is on me today."