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Texas congressman saves boy choking on chicken nugget

Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Texas, earned his Good Samaritan stripes last Friday when he saved a three-year-old boy choking on a chicken nugget during a flight from Dallas to San Antonio.

Three-year-old Cash Flippen was in the middle seat next to Gallego and when he began choking, his mother, Paige Flippen, called out for help because she was in the window seat with her six-month-old daughter.

"I quickly unbuckled the three year old's seatbelt, held him up, put one hand on his back, another hand on his sternum, compressed his chest as gently as possible but with enough force to dislodge the chicken nugget the boy was choking on," Gallego said in a statement.

How did he know the proper way to dislodge the food?

"Years ago as a small child, my son Nicolas had choked on a piece of bacon. During that experience, I learned what to do," Gallego said.

Paige Flippen said he didn't hesitate to react even though he had headphones on and was watching the news.

"I was very happy that a stranger jumped to my aid. Especially in this day in age I know people are scared to do anything," she told San Antonio CBS affiliate KENS.

When a man across the aisle asked if he was a doctor, Gallego said he replied, "No. I'm just a dad."

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.