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‘I appreciate you’: Ashland restaurant owner saves choking customer

ASHLAND, Va. -- A longtime customer of Brick Oven Bistro in Ashland is crediting the owner with saving his life.

Scott Bodde was eating lunch with his son at the Hill Carter Parkway eatery Thursday when he began choking on his club sandwich.

"While I was eating I laughed a bit and pulled a piece of food in the back of my throat," Bodde remembered. "It completely blocked my throat and I couldn’t breathe at all."

Restaurant Owner, Sam Mirshahi, was making the rounds through to each of his tables when he spotted Bodde waving his arms.

"Sam just happened to be walking by right at that time," Bodde said. "He immediately went behind me and started the Heimlich maneuver."

Scott Bodde

Bodde said it took Sam a half dozen tries to dislodge the bread from his throat before it was knocked loose.

"After he cleared my throat I gave him a hug and thanked him over and over," Bodde said.

Bodde and his family returned to the 14-year-old establishment to personally thank Mirshahi, again.

"I owe you my life," Bodde told Mirshahi.

"No, no, no," Mirshahi replied. "I appreciate you all."

The two men shake hands.

Thankfully, Mirshahi had all of his employees trained to give a choking customer the Heimlich maneuver about a year ago.

"The Bodde's are very nice people," Mirshahi said. "I love them and he’s okay so that’s all that matters."

Bodde said there wasn't a tip large enough he could give to thank the man who he credits with keeping him alive.

"Everything was in the right place at the right time and I owe those people there my life for sure," he said.