Every once in a while, sprinkled amid the e-mails complaining about overpriced D.C. sports tickets and bad game-day experiences and losing teams, I get a note about something nice.
Such was the case after a recent Nats afternoon home game, when Reader Bernie sent me a brief message.
Dan, I was at the game on Thursday afternoon in sec. 116. Shortly after the game began, a young man a few seats away started choking on some food he had eaten. Immediately, the man who was selling beer and water in our section put down his blue container and began to perform the Heimlich maneuver. While undertaking this procedure he remained calm and ensured the boy’s frantic mother that it was going to be alright.
After a short period, he was successful and the food was dislodged. After another employee arrived to help, he calmly picked up his blue container and went back to work.....I think this hero should be commended and rewarded by the Nats organization.
Well, to commend him we first have to know his name. Luckily, after I forwarded along this message to the Nats, the team’s public-relations staff helped out.
The vendor in question was Emmanuel Marlow, a 49-year old D.C. native who now lives in Bowie. He’s done the vending thing at FedEx Field, RFK Stadium and Nats Park, selling beverages and performing guest services for Rocket Man, one of the contractors at area sports venues.
Marlow’s “day” job — which begins at 3 in the morning — involves caring for patients with Parkinson’s; he helps bathe, shave, massage and feed several such patients. He also said it’s in his nature to help people; he once took a free CPR class at UDC, figuring it might come in handy. And he listened carefully during his vending training session, when his supervisor, Terrie Smith, encouraged her employees to be vigilant at all times as they walked the stadium.
“I didn’t realize they were listening that much to what I was saying in my vendor meeting,” Smith said with a laugh when I asked her about that session.
At the game in question, Marlow told me that he was selling beer when he noticed a little boy in the crowd, coughing, gagging and turning a strange color. The fans in that section seemed to be panicking, but no one had taken charge of the incident.
“I guess they never had experienced a first-aid situation,” said Marlow, who had once worked a game at FedEx Field when a patron had a mild stroke. “[The boy] was actually going to a new color. I knew I needed to jump in and do it. There was no time for hesitation. It had to be done right then and there.”
And thus, remembering his UDC training, Marlow indeed performed the Heimlich on the boy, who had a piece of chicken lodged in his throat. It took three thrusts, but the chicken was dislodged.
“I was impressed,” said Smith, the supervisor, who found out about the incident later. “I was like, ‘he did?’ He was just calm with it, didn’t come back and say ‘I did that.’ ”
The boy was examined by officials after the incident. His mother, Marlow said, spent 10 minutes hugging the vendor, crying and thanking him. And like my e-mailer wrote, Marlow confirmed that he quickly resumed selling beer, joking that his manager that day “was like great job, go back to work.”
“I was just glad I was there and knew what to do and did it; that’s the best thing that happened,” Marlow told me. “His mother’s not grieving over a lost child. That’s the most important thing.”
Marlow wears vendor No. 182, if you ever see him around Nats Park and feel like saying hey.