Willett saves man's life performing Heimlich at Chick-fil-A
Updated 12:29 pm, Wednesday, November 29, 2017
AUSTIN — Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett, known for his humorous tweets and his role on the bench, said he successfully performed the Heimlich maneuver on a fellow dad at a Chick-fil-A here Tuesday night, saving the man's life.
Willett said the real hero is an Austin middle school band director, Herson De La Garza. Garza first stepped in to perform the Heimlich after he saw the man clutch his own throat, the assistant band director from Gorzycki Middle School told KXAN.
Here's what Willett said via email about what happened:
"I was hunched over my MacBook, munching some Chick-fil-A chicken strips while discussing errands with my wife on my cell. Suddenly, a nearby customer rushed to the booth in front of me and started performing the Heimlich maneuver on a dad who was dining with his young daughter. I hung up on my wife (first time in 21 years!) and jumped up. The quick-acting Good Samaritan, Herson De La Garza, a middle school band director, had given three or four upward abdominal thrusts, but the man was still choking. Herson moved over, and I gave a quick thrust or two, dislodging the nugget and clearing the airway. Herson was first on the scene and deserves enormous praise. I'm writing a letter to the Austin I.S.D. superintendent recounting Herson's Heimlich heroism. This all happened in the blink of an eye. I implore everyone to get trained on the Heimlich, CPR, and other basic life-saving skills. I hugged my wife and three wee Willetts a little tighter when I got home, and we prayed for this man's dear family, especially his sweet daughter, who was just frozen in fear, watching all this unfold. Life is precious—and so fragile. And when someone at Chick-fil-A thanks you for helping save their life, there's only one response: 'My pleasure.'"
Willett, nicknamed "Tweeter Laureate of Texas," was not the first to share the account on Twitter. Instead, Chief Judge Stephen Dillard, who sits on the Court of Appeals of Georgia, tweeted the story Tuesday night, introducing the tale as "This Day in Judicial 'Activism.'"
"Seriously though, the next time our Court offers a lifesaving training class, I am signing up. I need a refresher course," Dillard said.
Willett is awaiting Senate confirmation to the 5th U.S. Court of Appeals.