No one else had noticed what was going on. But he knew from experience that something wasn’t right. He trusted his instincts.
He walked past the crowds of people until he saw her. He reached out a hand and grabbed her arm, everyone froze.
Roger Caron was hired on as a security guard for Pascack Hills High School in New York.
Before his first day even started, there was controversy around the school’s decision to bring him on. It wasn’t the position itself that people were wary of, it was his job before.
Determined To Help
Caron was an ex-cop that had served the Woodcliff Lake Police Department for 34 years. He had a solid reputation of being tough but fair. People either loved him or hated him.
So, the reactions were mixed, but he was determined to show supporters and critics that he was the best person for the job.
Caron walked the halls with an intimidating presence. Anywhere he went, students immediately started to behave themselves and shy away from him – except for one girl.
She had talked to Caron many times before and enjoyed his company. Their encounters were relatively uninteresting until this one fateful day.
Calm And Observant
It was a day like any other. He stood at the wall, hands on his belt and eyes scanning the action. On the surface, he seemed calm but underneath it all, years of training were working at full throttle.
Whether at a high school or a shopping mall, wherever there’s a crowd, Caron knew anything could happen. The second half of the day was about to begin and he was prepared for the unexpected.
As the crowds of students ran out of the classrooms he watched them all. They hurriedly ate their meals while laughing with their friends.
A girl flashed him a quick smile as she walked past – her name was Sarah Buzzini. He remembered their talk about her aspiring to be a cop.
To Caron, their relationship was like a teacher and student. He liked kids and loved the idea of helping a kid out that was going through a hard time – it was exactly why he applied for the job.
He hoped to positively impact their lives in some way. But he had no idea about the problems Sarah Buzzini was about to present him with.
Sarah Buzzini was a bright student who loved to socialize and talk to people. She had a tremendous interest in people’s lives – especially Caron’s.
Caron remembered their conversations about her wanting to be a cop. She looked up to him and asked him for guidance. Caron continued to watch her walk by. But suddenly, he noticed something odd.
As Caron watched the 18-year-old walk away, he noticed that she started to move strangely. Each step was with purpose but without direction.
Caron was used to scanning for anything irregular – from deformed clothes that could be hiding something to darting eyes and suspicious behavior. He was hyper-vigilant and he was almost always right.
Jumping Into Action
Caron watched her closely. Maybe she was distracted on her phone? But after he witnessed another hesitant stumble, he started to move.
There was no way this was normal behavior. He really hoped she hadn’t ingested anything illegal or was intoxicated. Little did he know, the truth was far more terrifying.
He walked his way through the busy flow of students, keeping an eye on her bright yellow shirt. Something felt very off. He had to check it out – even if he was wrong.
Sarah took a few more strides forward. It was like she wanted to go somewhere, but couldn’t move. Then, her hands started to flap.
He walked faster, keeping a very close eye. Maybe she was motioning to a friend? The classmates around her weren’t reacting. She started to sway.
“Not good,” he thought. Now, he was sure. Something was definitely wrong with her. His heartbeat picked up as he pushed through the crowd and planted himself in front of the girl. What he saw next was frightening.
Caron grabbed her arms and took a good look at her. She couldn’t speak. He tried asking what was wrong but he got no answer.
Her face was pale and her eyes were wide and terrified. Was she having a seizure? Did she take something? Just then, the girl hand-gestured something.
See It Before
The two rosy lips that usually smiled at him now had a blue tinge. Her eyes fluttered and her frantic limbs started to slow down and drop at her side.
Caron had seen this before. If he understood her hand gestures correctly, he had to act now. But first, he was required to ask something.
“Sarah, I’m going to touch you okay?” She looked up at him, fading away, and gave a clear nod. With all the school regulations about physical contact and horror stories about adults being penalized for the craziest things, he needed to ask.
He hoped there was no need to ask but he knew how situations could be twisted and distorted. He acted quickly.
There was no more time to waste. Caron swung himself behind her, positioned his hands just above her navel, and pulled in and up. He pulled hard twice but there was nothing.
She was now completely limp. He panicked and quickly tried again. He wasn’t going to let her end like this. He used more force.
Nothing came out. By now a large crowd had gathered around them, some confused, others very worried. Three more times he tried. “Come on, Sarah,” he said, trying again.
He was moving her around like a rag doll. He could feel that she was slipping. Whatever she was choking on was incredibly stubborn. More people started to gather.
French Fry Culprit
Caron continued to give her the Heinrich maneuver. Each time he used more and more force. He began to panic and yelled at the students to get more help. But just then, relief.
His force pushed a French fry out of her windpipe and sent it sailing to the floor. Next was a loud gulp of air.
It seems the girl had been in such a rush to eat her food before getting to class, that one tiny fry had gone down the wrong way. She had tried to wash it down with a drink but nothing worked.
“I knew it was lodged in my throat, my drink which I had in my hand couldn’t get it down,” she said. “After a couple of seconds, I slowly felt myself fading, to be honest with you.”
As the air came back into Sarah’s lungs, she crumpled into Caron’s arms and cried. He picked her up in his strong arms.
She was still in pain and was feeling weak from the shock. Caron shouted at everyone to disperse and brought her to receive help. The students cheered and clapped but they weren’t out of the woods yet.
Speaking of the incident, Caron recalled “I noticed Sarah didn’t seem right. She was stumbling a bit, moving very quickly. The closer I got I realized her color was off and she ran up to me and started giving me the choke signal. At that point, I knew exactly what was wrong.”
But did they face any consequences?
Road To Recovery
Caron took her to the nurse. Aside from some moderate bruising around her ribs (which would be normal in cases like these) and being a little shaken, she was in fine health.
She was also described to look at Caron with teary awe and gratitude. What happened next was even better news for both of them.
It’s no surprise that the special bond grew even stronger. Aside from being something she aspired to be when she went into a law enforcement career, he was now her hero.
The critics were silenced and the school board posted their own praises. But not everyone was happy.
There were some parents on the school board that questioned if it was appropriate for Caron to use such force on the young girl. In their mind, he could have handled it better. Some even suggested that a woman would have been more appropriate.
Most people were utterly appalled at these opinions and immediately shut down such immature complaints. As for Sarah’s future?
Wearing The Uniform
Despite remaining humble, and Caron saying it his pleasure and duty to protect the kids, Sarah is more determined than ever to follow in the officer’s footsteps.
It’s clear that one day she will wear the uniform and be saving people just like him. It’s a happy ending to the inspiring story from Pascack Hills High.