'He got me to breathe again.' Mount Sinai bartender saves choking customer's life
A Suffolk County bartender jumped into action Wednesday to save a choking customer's life.
Gia Gesmondi says one minute she was enjoying butternut squash ravioli at Cafe Spiga in Mount Sinai and then panic began to set in.
"I felt it right away - a little bit of a cough - and then I thought it would go away and then it just lodged," Gesmondi says.
She says she couldn't catch her breath or cough up the food, so she stood up and tried to get someone's attention.
Seconds after that, bartender Glenn Niedzwieski saw what was happening and rushed around the bar to perform the Heimlich maneuver on Gesmondi.
He says when he was trying to dislodge the food - a nurse dining at the restaurant pointed out how serious the situation was.
"He said, 'Call 911 - her lips are getting blue,'" Niedzwieski says. "So, I gave her three or four real good hard ones and it happened."
Gesmondi says Niedzwieski would not give up.
"Glenn wasn't having it - he just kept on and he got me to breathe again," Gesmondi says.
The rest of the restaurant saw the whole incident occur and started clapping when it was clear that the customer was OK.
In 47 years of bartending, Niedzwieski says he never has given someone the Heimlich.