KIRKWOOD, Mo. – On February 28, Robinson Elementary School head custodian Bryan Freeman became a hero, but if you ask him, he just did what anyone else would have done.

“I think it was great that I was able to help,” Freeman said. “But a hero? Not really.”

Freeman was watching over students in the school cafeteria when a third-grader started to choke. Without hesitation, Freeman rushed to the student’s aid.

“He was sitting at the table, kind of bent over, and he was pulling on his shirt,” Freeman said. “Tears were rolling down and spit was coming out of his mouth.”

He said he started the Heimlich maneuver, and about 25 seconds later, the student was able to breathe again.

“He is always quick to respond,” said Angeline O’Neal-Hogrefe, principal of Robinson Elementary School. “I was not surprised at all when I heard he was the one to take action.”

The student was taken to the nurse’s office, and his parents were notified. The next day, the third-grader had a surprise for the man that saved his life.

“I’m standing there, and I’m about to clean up the cafeteria, and he snuck in on me,” Freeman said. “He tapped me on the back, and I said, ‘Hey, how are you doing?’ He just hugged me. He gave me a card, and it said, ‘Thank you for saving my life. I’m okay now, but thank you.’ I’m just glad he’s alright.”