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Chesterfield sixth grader uses Heimlich to save choking classmate

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- An 11-year-old Chesterfield middle school student isn't sure about being called a hero, though he is hailed as one by teachers at Providence Middle School, after he saved a choking classmate during lunch on Friday.

“I wasn’t big on being labeled a hero," said sixth grader Wayne Norris. "I wasn’t big on that. I just said, dude, don’t call me a hero, I was just trying to help.”

A teacher was on lunch duty in the cafeteria when she observed a student with a panicked look on his face.

"She asked the student what was wrong," a teacher wrote to CBS 6. "The student who was covering his throat with one hand replied 'I got food stuck in my throat.'"

After she made sure the student was okay, the teacher asked him what happened.

That's when the student explained that his classmate "squeezed my stomach" to get the food out.

"When asked what happened, the reluctant hero said 'I just did this' and the demonstrated the classic Heimlich maneuver on himself," the teacher continued. "Several administrators looked at the lunch room video of the incident and confirmed that [the student] had indeed successfully performed a life-saving act when he used the Heimlich maneuver to loosen the lunch that was stuck in his classmate’s airway."

Norris wasn't sure at first if the student was joking.

"I was like, dude, everybody in my class jokes around like that for no apparent reason," he said.  "So I was like if you’re serious pick up that can."

"He picked up his can, and I was like ‘screw it,’ and I did the Heimlich," Norris added.

Norris said he learned the lifesaving heimlich technique from an odd place — television.