Police officers are trained to handle any situation. Which is why one New Jersey state trooper knew exactly what to do even though he was having dinner with his son while he was off-duty.
On a Sunday evening, New Jersey State Trooper Dennis Palaia was sitting at a Buffalo Wild Wings eating dinner with his six-year-old son while watching a football game. Shortly after sitting down, Palaia heard a strange noise and discovered that a man nearby was choking.
“It sounded like a cough, but it was a little different. So, I recognized that it was different, and within a minute or less, I turned around and realized the guy behind me was completely red in the face,” Palaia said. When he saw the man, Todd Hendricks, holding his hands around his throat, he jumped up and started performing the Heimlich maneuver.
“It took five thrusts, and I’ve never had to do it before. It was a little nerve-wracking, but on the fifth one… I could feel him start to breathe again,” Palaia said. “I really thought he was going to go down, and I was nervous. Thinking about it afterward, you start running through what if you didn’t get it out, what would you do then? I would do it again in a heartbeat, of course.”
“Having that officer, off-duty, just step up and do his civic duty and what he signed up for to save someone’s life was amazing,” said K.D. Murphy, who was working behind the bar and witnessed Palaia’s rescue.