High school hero saves 3-year-old boy from choking

Published: May 31, 2007 | 6310th good news item since 2003

It took four days for Liberty High School student Ellis Davis to tell his mother he saved a 3-year-old boy’s life.

“It took a few days before it dawned on me what had happened,” said Davis, who will be a junior in the fall.

About two weeks ago, Davis was eating with two friends at the McDonald’s on Missouri Highway 291 in front of Price Chopper when he saw a fellow Liberty High student, Stephanie Short, carrying her little cousin, Noah McGannon, as she rushed from the playground area to the main eating area.

“We had been sitting there eating,” Short said, “when my boyfriend motioned for me to look at Noah. Noah just looked at me with a blank face and wasn’t talking. He started turning blue.

“So I ran with him into the lobby and yelled for help,” she said. “Ellis just jumped right up. He didn’t hesitate at all.”

Davis said he remembered Short asking if anyone knew the Heimlich maneuver.

When he reached Noah, Davis told him calmly what he was about to do so as not to frighten Noah, Short said. Then, he gave him about six thrusts to dislodge a frozen strawberry from his throat. Noah had been eating a fruit parfait.

“I choked on a strawberry,” Noah recalled a week after the incident, when his family treated Davis and his family to dinner at the same McDonald’s to thank him for saving Noah’s life. “Choking … that’s not funny.”

Noah was blue when Davis reached him, and his arms and legs were beginning to grow stiff, said both Short and Davis.

When Noah got home and relayed the incident to his grandmother, Melissa Myers, he told her, “That high school boy helped me. I couldn’t breathe.”

“Later Noah had broken blood vessels in his eyes,” said Myers, a registered nurse at Saint Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City. “He had all the signs. From my training and background, I’m convinced Ellis saved his life.”

It took Myers about two days to track down Noah’s hero, and when she did, she was surprised he hadn’t told his family.

“He’s just so humble,” she said. “I asked him, ‘Didn’t you at least tell your mom?’ And he said, ‘No.’”

Davis’ mom, Andrea Henry, said she first thought Davis was joking but now was very proud of her son.

“He said, ‘By the way, I saved a little boy’s life a few days ago,’” Henry said. “I said, ‘Shut up.’ Then I said, ‘What in the world were you doing at McDonald’s?’”

Davis said he hadn’t planned to be at McDonald’s that day, but he missed the bus and had to catch a ride with a friend, who wanted to stop by the restaurant after school.

Davis said he learned the Heimlich maneuver along with other first-aid, including CPR, in ninth-grade health class.

Published in Kids & Teens
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