Source: USA TODAY
SAN ANTONIO — A mother of two small children was happy her congressman was aboard her flight when her son had a medical emergency.
Paige Flippen said she was holding her 6-month-old daughter in her arms, when in the middle of the flight on Friday her 3-year-old son started choking on a chicken nugget.
Cash Flippen recalled sounding like a seal as he gasped for air with the food blocking his airway.
"When I saw Cash choking, I jumped up and unbuckled my seatbelt and just alerted everybody that I needed assistance," Paige Flippen, who said she was unable to help because she was holding her infant daughter.
But Flippen said the man sitting next to Cash reacted without hesitation.
"He had headphones on," Flippen said. "He was listening to the news. But when he saw me calling the attention, he jumped up and assisted."
That Good Samaritan happened to be Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Texas.
"I held him up, put one hand on his back, another hand on his sternum, compressed his chest as gently as possible but with enough force to dislodge the chicken nugget the boy was choking on. Luckily, I knew exactly what to do."
Flippen was grateful for Gallego's quick actions.
"I was very happy that a stranger jumped to my aid. Especially in this day in age I know people are scared to do anything," she said.
She said she had no idea until after the chicken came out that the man who saved her son's life turned out to be her congressman, but that she and her husband are incredibly thankful.
"It's a story that my son will definitely have for the rest of his life," said Paige.
This was not Gallego's first brush with first aid on a flight. He was on board a plane in October 2013 when fellow lawmaker California Rep. Raul Ruiz provided medical assistance to a fellow passenger when flying from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
At the time, Gallego said he was impressed with Ruiz's skill.
"Hope @CongressmanRuiz is on all my flights home," he tweeted. "An emergency room dr by training, was impressive to see him in action. He saves lives!"