One of Donald Trump’s federal appeals court nominees saved a man’s life at a Texas restaurant on Tuesday.
Don Willett, who currently serves on the Texas Supreme Court, confirmed to The Daily Caller that he performed the Heimlich maneuver on a man at a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Austin.
Willett’s heroic actions were first flagged on Twitter by Stephen Dillard, a chief judge on Georgia’s court of appeals.
Willett, who was nominated by Trump earlier this year for a position on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, recounted the incident in a statement to TheDC.
“I was hunched over my MacBook, munching some Chick-fil-A chicken strips while discussing errands with my wife on my cell. Suddenly, a nearby customer rushed to the booth in front of me and started performing the Heimlich maneuver on a dad who was dining with his young daughter,” said Willett.
Willett says he hung up the phone on his wife — “first time in 21 years!” he noted — and rushed to the scene.
A middle school band director named Herson De La Garza had started performing the Heimlich maneuver on the choking customer. After “three or four upward abdominal thrusts,” the man was still choking, Willett said.
“Herson stepped aside, and I gave a quick thrust or two, dislodging the nugget and clearing the airway,” he recalled.
Willett, who is on Trump’s short list for U.S. Supreme Court, praised De La Garza for his quick attention to the choking customer.
“Herson was first on the scene and deserves enormous praise. I’m writing a letter to the superintendent recounting Herson’s Heimlich heroism,” said Willett.
The 51-year-old judge concluded with a note of reflection.
“I squeezed my wife and three wee Willetts a little tighter tonight, and we prayed for this man’s dear family. Life is precious — and fleeting,” he told TheDC.
Willett’s pluck can only help ease his confirmation to the Court of Appeals. He underwent a confirmation hearing earlier this month and is awaiting a vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Willett is perhaps best known for his colorful Twitter musings.
His Twitter activity has earned him the nickname “Twitter Judge” and “Tweeter Laureate.” He also frequently tweets about Chick-fil-A.
When u roll up to Chick-fil-A on Sunday. pic.twitter.com/LhCWG5Zxqh
— Justice Don Willett (@JusticeWillett) January 21, 2017
Update: A Twitter user named Danny Hernandez came forward to identify himself as the man who was saved by Willett and De La Garza. He thanked the pair for saving him.
I am the dad that was saved by the quick action of the two men. I am very thankful for their help. It was all very fast, overwhelming and embarrassing. I cannot thank them enough.
— Danny Martinez (@utdmart) November 29, 2017