ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A custodian at Mesa Elementary School in Albuquerque is being hailed a hero. She saved a student who was choking; the custodian had never taken any life-saving classes.

Christian Ortiz Gonzales is a fifth grader at La Mesa Elementary School, near Central and Louisiana. Yesterday, during lunch, he started to choke on his meal. He said his friends thought he was laughing when he got out of his seat one of the teachers noticed something was wrong.

“Like I was praying to God in my mind, like please save me and I guess I did get saved,” said Gonzales. “So like a teacher came up to me her name was Ms. Anabel she said are you ok and I couldn’t say anything.”

The school’s head custodian Janet Garcia was in the cafeteria when Ms. Anabel told her that Christian was choking. They rushed to save him. “We did the Heimlich maneuver on him and we cleared his airway which seemed like it took forever but it really didn’t take that long from what I understand,” said Garcia.

Garcia said she’s never taken any CPR classes and only knew the basics because her son was a boy scout growing up and now works as an EMT. She said everything happened so fast, it wasn’t until things were back to normal that she realized what had happened.

“I breeze through it but afterward I panicked and started crying, he’s not aware of that,” said Garcia. Gonzales was taken to the nurse’s office where he stayed until he felt well enough to go back to his class. He ran into Garcia when school was out and wanted to show his gratitude.

“Ms. Janet was standing in front of the cafeteria and then I said to her, I said to her thank you, thank you for saving my life, but before I said that I gave her a hug,” said Gonzales. Christian’s parents are also so thankful for what Garcia did to save their son’s life.