Rowlett Teen Hailed as Hero for Saving Man's Life

79-year-old says he wouldn't be alive with teenager's rescue

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Rowlett teenager is being hailed as a lifesaver for helping a man with the Heimlich manuever. (Published Wednesday, Oct 3, 2012)

    A North Texas teenager is being hailed a lifesaver for helping a man just in the nick of time.

    Seventy-nine-year-old John Terry said he wouldn't be here if 17-year-old Kristiana Barbosa had not stepped in.

    Barbosa said she can't understand all the fuss.

    "I was just doing what I was supposed to do," she said. "I mean, I wasn't just going to let him die."

    Terry said he is alive today after she sprang into action when she saw him choking on his meal.

    "I would appreciate her giving me a second chance to live because I couldn't breath and I didn't know what was going on," he said.

    The Rowlett High School senior was working at Whataburger when she and a co-worker noticed Terry making gestures that indicated that he couldn't breath. Barbosa rushed over to him and performed the Heimlich maneuver.

    "Young as she is, I appreciate it," Terry said.

    "I didn't even realize, 'Oh I saved this man's life,'" Barbosa said. "I was like, 'Holy crap, that just happened.' Like, he was choking."

    She credits a health sciences class that she took in her sophomore year with helping her prepare for an emergency.

    Rowlett city leaders and police consider her a hero worth recognizing with a city proclamation.

    "She really is a remarkable individual, and we all put ourselves in that position and say, 'What would we do?'" Mayor Todd Gottel said. "And in her case, she really stepped up to the plate."

    Her mother, Lara Barbosa, said she's proud.

    "It's not every day that your child saves a stranger's life," she said.

    Her daughter said she hopes to keep saving lives when she follows her dream to be an emergency medical technician.

    "It was a natural instinct for me," she said. "I've always kind of wanted to help people and save people's lives and do the right thing."