An intense moment unfolded recently at Macomber School in Westport when a kindergarten teacher sprang into action to save a fellow teacher.

When Jennifer Medeiros began choking on an almond, Michelle Thomas administered the Heimlich maneuver without hesitation and ultimately saved her best friend’s life.

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Medeiros and Thomas recounted the terrifying minutes that unfolded that day at school.

“She was sitting in her classroom and I was talking to her, and she started to choke on an almond,” recalled Thomas.

It was fight or flight mode for Thomas when she realized her friend was in serious trouble.

“There were about four other teachers speaking to Jen, and she was sitting at her desk, and then she stopped talking, which is unlike her,” she joked. “But honestly, it was something to do with her eyes. She just looked different to me.”

Thomas has been teaching in Westport for 25 years and has participated in several health training sessions over the years, but she had never administered the Heimlich maneuver in real-time before. Luckily, her years of training kicked in when she noticed her friend was beginning to panic and she calmly said to her coworker and friend, “I’m going to perform the Heimlich now.”

“I gave her one thrust (and) it didn’t come out,” said Thomas. She wasn’t making any sound at that point.” After the second thrust, the almond dislodged from Medeiros’s throat.

“I remember her giving me the first thrust and me thinking, ‘It’s not working,’ but I don’t remember the second one,” said Medeiros. “I do remember feeling the nut move in my throat and I got air back in. It was so, so scary. I’ve never felt like that before.”

Medeiros was grateful for how calm Thomas was during an otherwise chaotic situation.

Thomas and Medeiros were best friends before this incident, but it’s safe to say they are even closer now.

This is just another example of how knowing the Heimlich maneuver can save lives.

We love a happy ending.

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