Tyra Winters, a Texas black teen, is being exalted as a hero for jumping off a homecoming float of cheerleaders to save a choking two-year-old boy.
She then hopped back onto the float.
Winters is a student at Rockwall High School in Rockwall, Texas. Part of a cheerleading team waving down the crowd at the school’s homecoming parade on September 18, Winters was compelled to halt the waving and sprang off the float when the two-year-old Clarke began choking on a piece of candy.
“He was turning purple, so I immediately jumped off the float, I ran down to the kiddo, and I was like, ‘I got him’ and I grabbed him from the mom,” she told CBS 11.
Winter’s instinctive move was triggered by Clarke’s mother’s panicked cry for help. “I grabbed him and tilted him and I gave a good three back thrusts and he ended up spitting up.”
The two-year-old’s mother, Nicole Hornback, had tried unsuccessfully to give her son the Heimlich maneuver when she turned and noticed he wasn’t making any noise or movements.
“There was no coughing, there was no breathing,” Hornback told NBCDFW. “He was just physically choking, just gagging, and just gasping for air.”
Worried as she was, Hornback literally sought help from “bystander to bystander, just trying to pass him off to whoever would take him. But I was so distraught, I couldn’t speak.”
Even though she was busy waving the crowd, Winters didn’t numb her sense of awareness. She saw the chaos and impulsively went off the float and grabbed the toddler and helped.
“So, I gave the kid back to his mom and I ran and got back on the float before I missed it,” she said.
On Tuesday, Hornback and the little boy reunited with Winters for the first time since the incident.
“She saved my baby,” Hornback said while thanking Winters for her selfless gesture.
Hornback recounted the incident on her Facebook status with the aim to get people who knew Winters to help reunite with her.
Thankfully, Rockwall High School administrators noticed it, and Clarke and Tyra were reunited along with the toddler’s mom and older brother on October 1.
The two-year-old didn’t recognize his savior to which Hornback told ABC News, “It’s hard for him because he’s so young.” “He doesn’t even remember what he ate for breakfast.”
“I know they’re calling me the town hero,” she told her local NBC station. “It’s super exciting to own that title. But, most importantly, I’m just glad the boy is OK.”