“It hit me in my mind: Am I gonna die here on a stupid piece of pineapple?”
Lucky for Peter Philando, his son knew how to do the Heimlich maneuver.
He learned the life-saving technique as a Boy Scout.
For his heroic action that Father’s Day 2014, Kairos this month will receive the National Certificate of Merit from the National Office of the Boy Scouts. Troop adviser Roy Harding recommended Kairos to the local Boy Scout chapter, who passed along the recommendation to the national office in Irving, Texas.
Philando, 46, his son Kairos, 13, and his nephew Aaron Wint, 16, returned from church on Father’s Day last year to their Miramar home. Although Kairos and his cousin wanted to play NBA 2k, a basketball video game, Philando made the boys spend some quality time with him learning to make omelets.
After offering some pineapple to the boys to snack on, Philando took a large bite of the fruit. The pre-cut slice was slippery, and slid down Philando’s throat. The pineapple got stuck, blocking Philando’s airway.
Philando tried to swallow the lodged piece of pineapple.
“At this point, I’m not necessarily panicking yet, and so I decided let me try to wash it down,” Philando said.
Philando took a sip of water directly from the kitchen faucet. The water immediately came back up, signaling to Philando that his airway was completely blocked.
“That’s actually what ran through my mind … is this stupid piece of pineapple going to do me in?” Philando said.
Unsure what to do, Philando turned to the kitchen table where his son and nephew were sitting. Kairos thought his dad might be pranking him at first. Then it turned serious.
“I remember he turned and his face looked red,” Kairos said. “I was thinking like what’s wrong with him, is he joking around or something? I’ve never seen his face get so red before. Even when it’s hot he doesn’t get that red.”
Philando tried performing the Heimlich maneuver on himself, thrusting and hitting himself with his fist in his own stomach.
Philando heard his son yell out, “Dad, hold on, I’ll do it. I know how to do it.”
One, two, three thrusts — and the chunk of pineapple propelled from his throat and fell to the kitchen floor.
Kairos had saved his father’s life.
“I just kept doing the Heimlich,” Kairos said. “I didn’t know it came out until he told me to stop. … I just kept on going.”
Kairos learned the Heimlich maneuver and other life-saving skills only a month earlier as part of his Boy Scout training. Philando signed up his son for Troop #463 in March 2014. Living World Open Bible Church in Cooper City, where Philando is a member, sponsored the troop.
“I signed him up not realizing anything would come from it that would end up saving my life,” Philando said. “Thank God that he was there that day.”
On Aug. 16, as part of the church’s Youth Sunday, Kairos will receive his recognition.
The Boy Scouts award three types of merit certificates: the first level is when a Boy Scout renders some skill related to his Boy Scout training; second level is when a Boy Scout saves a life without jeopardizing his own; and a third type when a Boy Scout saves a life at the risk of his own. Kairos will receive the second-level merit certificate.
Harding, who has been with Troop #463 for 29 years, says it’s boys like Kairos who keep him returning to the Boy Scouts.
“I’ve been threatening to leave, but I don’t seem able to say no. It’s young men like this, things they do like this, that make you want to continue.”
“I’m just glad [Kairos] was there,” his dad said.