VINCENNES, Ind. — For 34-year-old Nicole Bolding, it should have been a typical lunch hour.
She left her post at First Vincennes Savings Bank, headed to Cantwell Short Stop just a stone’s throw down the street, grabbed a sandwich, a drink and munched away as she filled her car’s tank up with gas.
But that’s where her typical lunch hour stopped.
“I took a bite, tried to swallow and I felt it get stuck,” she said, bringing her hands to her throat as if reliving the terrifying moment. “I was trying to take a breath, but I couldn’t. I tried taking a drink. That didn’t work either.
“I was gasping for air.”
Inside the convenience store, owner Dane Cantwell was chatting away with employees and loyal customers. When Bolding came flying in the door, her hands waving frantically in the air, he knew something had gone horribly wrong.
“We all looked at her, looked at each other, back at her,” Cantwell said of that Friday afternoon late last month. “She was gasping for air. By that point, we knew she needed some kind of attention.
“So I ran out into the lobby and grabbed her.”
As a reserve officer for the Knox County Sheriff’s Department, Cantwell had been trained in the Heimlich maneuver years ago, though he’d never actually had to use it.
But adrenaline took over when he saw Bolding’s face begin to turn blue. It took a half-dozen attempts, but soon, the food dislodged and color returned to Bolding’s face.
“It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever experienced,” Bolding said. “I kept thinking, ‘I’m going to die. I’m going to die.'”
“We were all scared and shaking,” Cantwell said.
And while he never set out to save a life that day, he will forever be a hero to Bolding, someone who jumped in to help when she found herself at her most venerable.
For that, she will forever be eternally grateful.
“He was right there, and he didn’t hesitate at all,” Bolding said, her eyes moist with gratitude. “He saved my life. And who knows if anyone else here that day would have been able to do that.
“I’ve said, ‘Thank you.’ I could say it a million times, and it would never be enough.”
But for Cantwell, it’s simple.
“It’s our duty as human beings,” he said with a shrug of his shoulders. “Aren’t we all here to help our fellow man?
“We hope and we pray that someone will be there for us when we need it,” Cantwell said. “And when we can be there for someone else, by golly, we should do it.”
Source: Vincennes Sun-Commercial
Information from: Vincennes Sun-Commercial, http://www.vincennes.com
This is an Indiana Exchange story shared by the Vincennes Sun-Commercial.