A Texas cheerleader was happily riding along on her school’s homecoming parade float when she noticed a mother panicking in the crowd as she tried to help her choking toddler. Immediately, the 17-year-old sprung into action, jumping down and running to the child’s aid.
Rockwall High School senior Tyra Winters told KTVT that she didn’t hesitate to help 2-year-old Clarke, recalling, “I see the kid. I see a little bright red face and his mom’s holding him up, begging for help, screaming, asking ‘someone help me someone help me.'”
She added that her first thought upon witnessing the scene was, “Oh my God, I have to help this child.” She noticed the little boy was turning purple, so she “ran down to the kiddo and said, ‘I got him.'” She then performed the Heimlich maneuver and in three quick thrusts, she was able to dislodge the candy he was choking on.
While the incident took place on September 18, the harrowing incident left a profound effect on Clarke’s mother, Nicole Hornback, who visited Winters at her school on Tuesday.
“I just happened to look over to him and there was no noise, there was no coughing, there was no breathing,” she said. “And at that moment that’s when I tried to give him the Heimlich, and I’ve never taken a class. To feel so useless as a mother was the most terrifying thing in my life.”
Luckily, Winters’ mother works in the medical field and the student has been trained in CPR since the eighth grade, a skill which Hornback applauded, saying, “I commend her for being a teenager and being trained. She saved my baby.”
Hornback said the experience inspired her and the rest of her family members to get CPR training right away to prevent a situation like this happening again in future.