Paramus waitress honored for saving girl’s life

Posted: Updated:
PARAMUS -

A Chili’s waitress was honored Friday for saving the life of a young girl who was choking.

Kye Rodgers, 9, and her family surprised waitress Dina Gonzalez with balloons and a big hug at the Paramus restaurant. Rodgers was celebrating her promotion to fourth grade with her family Tuesday night when she started to choke.

“Her eyes were like bulging. She couldn’t’ breathe. You could see the skin color change,” says mom Tara Harvey. “I reacted with patting her on the back, but it wasn’t working.”

Another waitress saw what was happening and screamed across the restaurant for Gonzalez.

“The way she called my name, I knew it was something wrong,” Gonzalez says.

Gonzales pushed Harvey out of the way and performed the Heimlich maneuver on the girl.

“It was like she was Superwoman. She did everything except have a cape on and flew over to us,” Harvey says. “One good pump and this golf ball-size of food shot across the room.”

Gonzalez remains modest, but Rodgers and her family say that the waitress certainly saved the day.

“I love her. She saved my life,” Rodgers says.

Gonzalez has worked at Chili’s for 11 years. She says that this is the first time she's had to perform the Heimlich on a customer.

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