HONOLULU (KHON2) — A good Samaritan is being hailed as a hero after his quick thinking saved the life of a 100-year-old woman.

The Iolani Schools ceramics teacher Ryan Roberts said he was at the right place, at the right time and with the right training. 

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Roberts said it was a usual drive home on Pali Highway when he noticed something strange. A woman pulled her car over on a left turning lane. She was waving her hands in the air in need of help; so, he pulled over to check on her. 

“[She] said that her mom was choking,” Roberts said. “And, that kind of looked into the car. And she’s pretty tiny.”

Iolani School had recently provided CPR training, and Roberts’s instincts kicked in. He initially performed two abdominal thrusts. 

“The last one was, like, alright,” He said. “And, we went at her pretty hard. And, then, she started coughing. She curled over pretty good and spit up some stuff. And, then, she started crying a little bit; and, so, [I said] if you can cry, you’re breathing.” 

He knew he had gotten her back to breathing.

Kim Williams is a CPR program manager and said, depending on the situation, having CPR training could improve someone’s odds. In this case, performing abdominal thrusts very likely saved the life of the kupuna. 

Williams said, “Thumb in, fist, thumb side facing abdomen right above the belly button. You push in a hard upward thrust.”

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Roberts said he was worried about harming the senior woman while performing the abdominal thrusts, but Williams said Hawaii has strong good samaritan laws if a person acts in good faith. 

Williams said, “If you are worried about hurting them, you are not going to save them.”

Experts said the best thing to do if someone is in distress is to act as quickly as possible. Call 911, approach the person, and ask if they are ok.

People who are choking are not able to speak; so, it is best to jump into action and begin performing abdominal thrusts. If the person falls unconscious, chest compressions should follow until first responders arrive. 

Honolulu’s Emergency Services Director Dr. James Ireland said the daughter of the woman did the right thing by pulling over and waving for help. He said she would have made it to the hospital in time if she continued driving.

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Ireland said, “You don’t have to be a paramedic, you don’t have to be a nurse, you don’t have to be a doctor, you just need to take the training.”

Roberts said he is still shaky from the whole experience, but happy he was there when needed most. 

“When somebody needs you, you kind of just go right,” Roberts said. “I’m a teacher that’s what you do.”

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EMS took over medical treatment and transported her in stable condition to an emergency room. She was discharged from the hospital that same evening.