A girl remembered a lesson that she learned from an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants and rescued her friend, who had begun choking on her gum. This is yet another case of video training pulling through, even though it was not intended to be a training video for the heimlich maneuver. In fact, Nickelodeon cannot find an episode during which the Heimlich maneuver is performed. Here’s the story.
Miriam, a Long Beach Middle School seventh-grader, and her “BFF,” Allyson Golden, had just finished rehearsing the “West Side Story” classic, “I Feel Pretty,” for an upcoming choral competition when their teacher cracked a joke that had the 12-year-olds erupting in laughter.
She said there was an episode where Squidward swallows a clarinet, but SpongeBob reaches down his throat to pull it out. In another episode, SpongeBob’s pal Patrick tries to perform a “slimelick” maneuver by reaching around a clam, “but it didn’t work,” she said.
Neither Miriam nor Allyson were concerned with such technicalities.
“It didn’t exactly show the Heimlich maneuver, per se, but SpongeBob kicked Squidward in the stomach the same way you would put pressure with your hands,” Allyson said. Miriam says she is also a fan of medical shows like “Grey’s Anatomy,” but never had any formal training in the technique.
She rejects any suggestion that she is a hero.
“I mean heroes are people who literally risk their lives to save people,” Miriam protested. “I mean I did something that really anyone could if they tried.”
“Allyson was chewing gum, which she shouldn’t have been,” Miriam recalled Friday in a mock tattletale voice during an interview in the principal’s office. “We were laughing and then the gum gets lodged in Ally’s throat. And she stopped laughing, which was weird because Ally laughs a lot.”
That’s when Miriam says she recalled an episode of the popular Nickelodeon cartoon, called Squidtastic Voyage, where she believes she saw SpongeBob use the Heimlich maneuver to retrieve a clarinet lodged in the throat of another character, Squidward.
“And I get her up and I do the Heimlich and the gum goes flying out of her mouth,” she said.
Allyson, who pleads guilty to chewing a wad of Trident Original Flavor, realized almost immediately what her friend had done. “I gave her the biggest hug and I was like, ‘Miriam you just saved my life. I owe you big time.’ And she’s just, ‘Oh, no, it was no big deal.'”