ROCKAWAY, NJ (WABC) — An employee at a sandwich shop in New Jersey is being honored for saving a choking customer this week.
The incident happened Thursday at PrimoHoagies Italian Specialty Sandwich in the Rockaway Townsquare Mall complex.
A customer was eating lunch when she started to choke on her sandwich.
Video shows her start to panic as she approached the counter, waving her arms to let others know she couldn’t breathe.
“All of a sudden she takes a sip of water, spits it out and she comes running up,” PrimoHoagies employee Danielle Buccielli said.
Buccielli, 21, was taking orders like usual when it happened. She jumped into action and ran around the counter to ask the woman if she was choking.
“She tried talking but nothing was coming out, she wasn’t doing around her neck but she was pushing on her stomach — I knew something was wrong,” she said.
Buccielli didn’t hesitate and started to perform the Heimlich maneuver which dislodged the food that was stuck in the victim’s throat.
It took only seconds for relief and gratitude to take over.
Buccielli is CPR-trained but it was her first time performing the Heimlich maneuver. She is relieved it worked.
“I made a difference and that’s the most important thing, I feel really good about that,” she said.
The customer has remained anonymous but was extremely grateful.
“She starts crying and said ‘thank you so much, you save my life, I need to repay you, this is amazing you saved my life,'” Buccielli said.
The restaurant honored Buccielli on Friday and gave her a $1,000 bonus for her heroic actions.
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