CARIBOU, Maine — Caribou Community School ed tech Lindsay Wilcox had no idea she was about to save a student’s life when she walked into the cafeteria Thursday.
But that is what happened.
Teachers and ed techs monitor the cafeteria during meals to make sure students behave and to keep them safe.
Wilcox was making the rounds during lunch when she noticed a second-grader become unusually quiet. She soon realized that the girl was choking on a cheese stick and could not breathe.
Within seconds, Wilcox sprang into action and performed the Heimlich maneuver, forcing the object out of the girl’s airway.
“It all happened so fast,” Wilcox said, several days after the incident. “The first thing I thought after was ‘Oh my God, that just happened.'”
The girl’s mother, who declined to be named in this story but is also a Community School ed tech, said she was grateful that Wilcox was to hold her daughter in those first few scary moments after the incident.
In the days following, Wilcox and the girl’s mother received messages of support from school and community members on social media. The mother said that her daughter has been doing well, and even helped her choose flowers to give to Wilcox.
Community School Principal Lee Caron watched security footage of the incident later that afternoon. Though he had already learned what had happened, watching the video brought home how Wilcox’s quick response made the difference.
“She was so calm. She’s a textbook example of how to act in that situation,” Caron said. “She’s a caring, unselfish person and we’re lucky to have her.”
Wilcox said she has been overwhelmed by people’s kind comments, but does not think of herself as a hero.
“I feel like I just did what anyone would have done in that moment,” Wilcox said. “I’m just happy that she [the student] is okay.”