ROSEVILLE, Minn. (WCCO) — John Hall was simply doing his job in Rosedale’s food court around 5 p.m. on Sunday evening. That’s when Hall was faced with an unexpected choice of life or death.

“I think it was instant…he was dying in front of me,” Hall said.

Connor Davis and his mother, Diane, had finished shopping and stopped by the food court for a quick snack. But Connor learned an unfortunate lesson that sesame chicken isn’t made to be rushed.

“I didn’t even think I was so hungry. I just took a bite and swallowed and I started chocking because I didn’t chew it,” Connor said.

Two pieces of food blocked Connor’s airway. He couldn’t breathe and couldn’t yell for help. Luckily, that’s when Hall saw him fighting for his life and sprang into action.

“I just grabbed my wrist and wrapped around him and gave him 10 good pumps,” Hall said, describing how he performed the lifesaving Heimlich maneuver.

What’s so incredible about the story is that Hall was never taught lifesaving first aid. He says whatever he did Sunday evening was done purely by instinct.

“I just reacted, my body did what my mind said,” Hall said.

What he did left Connor’s mother with a deep sense of gratitude. She gave Hall a big hug at the scene before riding with her son to the hospital.

“I don’t know if he even knows exactly what he did but he saved my son’s life,” Diane Davis said.

Back on the job, word of Hall’s heroics spread.

“I think if he wasn’t there, I wouldn’t be talking on the news right now,” Connor said.

To which Hall added: “It was just good to know [I] helped, you know, and saved someone’s life.”

Diane Davis was told by the EMTs just how lucky they are that Hall reacted so quickly and performed the Heimlich maneuver. That’s because many choking calls first responders are sent to will end tragically.

According to the National Safety Council, accidental choking is the fifth leading cause of accidental death. With some 2,700 Americans choking to death each year, it ranks just behind house fire fatalities.

Bill Hudson