COVENTRY, R.I. (WPRI) — Scott Albanesa works as a bus boy at the Old Theater Diner in Coventry.
March 3rd was like any other busy Saturday night at restaurant, until the 18-year-old heard screams for help as a customer was choking.
“He looked and saw her choking and he went, immediately turned, stood her up, did the heimlich maneuver in the aisle,” says Old Theater Diner Manager Rose Burke.
Albanesa was in the right place at the right time, clearing tables next to the very booth where the woman and her husband were sitting.
“After about three times of doing the maneuver the food unlodged, which I was very thankful for, and I was just incredibly lucky to be able to help, I’m really happy, she’s okay,” says Albanesa.
Even more amazing, Albanesa had only just learned the technique a few days prior to the incident thanks to a Pilgrim High School gym elective course, called “Lifesaver”.
“When I was learning the heimlich, I asked my teacher I was like, ‘Have you ever used this in the timeframe you’ve been teaching?’ And she said, ‘At 15 years Scott, I’ve never used this maneuver.’ And here I am, not even a week after, I’m using it,” adds Albanesa.
The woman he saved returned to the diner the next week with balloons and a gift card for the teen.
“She said ‘You helped me, thank you very much, you saved my life.’ Even if you don’t think you’re going to be that person that steps up in a situation I think it’s still to just have that knowledge because you think differently once you’re in the situation.”
Albanesa hopes to perhaps save even more lives one day. He plans to go to college in the fall and study nursing.