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Long Island lunch aide saves 7-year-old boy when he was choking on pizza

Lunch lady saves boy from choking
PIX11 News/YouTube

A scary situation turned a school lunch lady into a hero when her quick reaction saved a second grader’s life while he was choking.

Francesca Augello has worked at Wood Park Primary School on Long Island for nearly six years and thought she had seen it all, until last week, when a 7-year-old boy started choking on a slice of pizza during lunchtime.

“He was just staring at me so I asked if he was OK. He didn’t respond,” Augello told NBC New York. “He just opened his mouth, he couldn’t talk, so right then I knew he was choking.”

The little boy, Grayson Molina, told reporters after the scary event that he remembered not being able to breathe and being scared. But Augello acted quickly, following instructions on a poster in the cafeteria to dislodge the food that was stuck in his throat.

“She saved his life,” Garyson’s mom, Alexa Molina, told reporters when she and her husband visited the school to meet Agello. “She did exactly what she would’ve done if it was her children. So our family is eternally grateful. They’re like family and actually care and love our children just like we would.”

The family had the chance to meet Augello and thank her in person this week.

“To know that people think and care about others and want to make sure you are doing OK, it makes you proud to be here,” Grayson’s dad, Paul Molina, said.

Augello, who is a mom of three, said this was the first time she had ever come to the aid of a choking student.

“I’m a mom. My natural instincts kicked in so I did what I did,” she said. “I saw a child needing help and I helped him.”

Even though the experience was scary, Grayson is now back to his normal self with no lingering effects, except that his mom now reminds him regularly to chew his food before swallowing it — he said he doesn’t want to have pizza for lunch anymore.