A true hero

Published 3:34 pm Saturday, September 1, 2012

The word “hero” is often overused in a society that has come to expect selfish behavior. But in the case of Trish Gibson, it’s precisely appropriate.

Gibson, a nurse at Bon Secours, was eating dinner with her husband at Applebee’s Restaurant on Sunday when she heard a cry for help and sprang into action, nearly knocking her husband over in the process.

Eleven-year-old Jack Mayo was out with his sister and his grandmother, enjoying an appetizer of fried cheese sticks, when a piece became lodged in his throat. As he struggled for breath, his grandmother noticed him leaning over his plate, mouth agape, and turning blue. She panicked and began calling for help from the other diners.

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It’s easy to imagine grandmother Marjorie Wills’ feeling of helplessness as she called for help and found nobody willing to respond. Her panic increased, and she called out more loudly, so all of the diners in the restaurant could hear.

Gibson heard Wills’ call and literally jumped into action, hurtling over her husband when he didn’t move out of her way quickly enough. Finding the boy in distress, she tried to perform the Heimlich maneuver, but she wasn’t tall enough to get the angle she needed. Gibson called for help from someone taller, but found nobody else willing to come to the boy’s aid.

So Gibson did what heroes do: She found a way to accomplish the task, stepping onto a chair, grabbing the boy around his midsection and giving a quick, hard squeeze, which finally caused Jack Mayo to cough up the errant bite of food.

Some folks in the restaurant just didn’t know what to do. Others probably didn’t want to get involved. Sadly, that’s the kind of world we live in today.

But Gibson did get involved, and she didn’t allow for failure. That’s what makes a true hero.