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Greek Restaurateur Who Saved Choking Customer Gets International Award

Greek restaurateur award
Greek restaurateur Vasilis Patelakis was given an award for using his first aid knowledge to save a foreign tourist from choking at his restaurant. Credit: Screenshot from YouTube/@Aaromelove studio

A Greek restaurateur who performer the Heimlich maneuver on a British tourist was given a First Aid Ambassador award on Wednesday.

The award was given to him by the 112 Awards, an annual ceremony which seeks to recognize heroic actions by individuals which have led to saving lives.

Greek restaurateur receives award for quick thinking, action

Vasilis Patelakis was acknowledged by the 112 awards for his quick-thinking and first aid knowledge, which he used to save the life of the choking tourist. The incident occurred two years ago in his restaurant in Chania, on the island of Crete.

The thrilling video of the incident is shown below.

The 112 Awards also highlighted that the Greek restaurateur used the experience to inspire others by posting a video of the occurrence online in order to spread awareness about how important knowledge of First Aid can be.

In accepting the award, Patelakis was quoted as saying “It is a great honor to receive this 112 Award. My purpose from the beginning was to upload this video in order to make people see how important first aid knowledge is. In a perfect world, first aid lessons would be taught in every school. I hope this will come true one day.”

Other recipients of 112 Awards this year included emergency first responders and role models from countries as far flung as Estonia and Nigeria.

Video of first aid maneuver goes viral

When the Greek restaurateur uploaded the video to spread awareness, it ended up going viral as people were astounded by his bravery and quick thinking in the face of distress.

The video shows the man dining with a woman, and suddenly holding his chest as he tries to breathe. He looks like he is in agony as he stands up, holding his throat.

Patelakis is then seen rushing to the scene and applying the maneuver, instantly dislodging the food from the man’s windpipe with a sudden strong pressure applied onto his abdomen, between the navel and the ribcage.

The 112 Awards

The 112 awards are given annually by the European Emergency Number Association (EENA), which is a non-governmental organisation founded in 1999. The EENA’s mission is to improve levels of safety for all citizens, and the 112 Awards contribute to a part of that goal.

The significance of the number “112” is that it is the emergency number which can be called from anywhere in the European Union as well as most other countries on the continent. The EENA uses the 112 Awards partly as a way to spread awareness of the number, which is sadly largely unknown.

Despite its relative obscurity, the European Union believes the 112 number is extremely beneficial and has the potential to save hundreds of lives as it can be easily remembered, particularly by travelers across Europe.

A video by the European Parliament about the 112 number is shown below.

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