ROCKAWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. – Even though he was off-duty, a state trooper went above the call of duty and saved a man’s life, according to WPIX.
New Jersey State Police trooper Dennis Palaia was enjoying Sunday afternoon with his son at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Rockaway Township, N.J. when he noticed that the man at a neighboring table, Todd Hendricks, was choking on a grilled chicken tender.
Palaia rushed over to perform the Heimlich maneuver and cleared Hendricks’ airway. The terrifying experience and its heroic ending were captured on surveillance video.
"I really thought he was going to go down and I was nervous," Palaia said at a press conference. "Thinking about it afterward you start running through 'What if you didn't get it out? What then?"
New Jersey State Police posted the video on their Facebook page and said that, “with the exception of a sore throat and aching ribs, we are pleased to report that the man made a full recovery.”
On Thursday, Hendricks met Palaia and his family for the first time since the incident. The two men hugged and talked about the scary moment.
Buffalo Wild Wings has offered Palaia a year free of wings, but he declined the offer because he is a public servant.