An Indiana police officer, on the first day of paid duty, has already proved himself a valuable protector of the community by saving a child's life.
Newly-minted Hobart Police Officer Richard Mayer stopped at a Merrillville, Indiana, Chick-fil-A to have lunch with a few of his co-workers. Shortly after he sat down, a woman came rushing up to his table.
"I looked over and she started gagging," said Melanie Hasse, the mother of 15-month-old Charlotte, to WLS. "I could see something kind of in the back of her throat, mistakenly reached in to try to grab it out, I think that pushed it back into her throat."
Little Charlotte had reportedly choked on a piece of fruit. Fortunately for her and Hasse, Mayer had performed a Heimlich maneuver on his own 1-year-old daughter before.
"She looked purple in the face," Mayer told WGN. "I grabbed her. Officer Ramos was next to me and flipped her over. We did the back slaps, three to four of them. It was an apple that was dislodged from her throat and we knew she was breathing again."
Mayer said the incident caught him and the other officers "off guard," WLS reports.
"I'm just so thankful he was there at the right time," said Hasse to WGN. "I don't think this was a coincidence that this was his first day. I think he was meant to be somebody who protects and who saves and I'm just so thankful for him."
Police officers with the right training have saved many infants' lives. In a December 2017 incident in Georgia, body camera footage captured Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Officer William Eng resuscitating a 29-day-old infant after she stopped breathing.
"[The mother] handed me the newborn baby and kept saying, 'Please help, please help,'" Eng told ABC News. "[The baby] was like a rag doll. I just took a deep breath and did what I was trained to do."
Eng's supervisor, Sgt. Phillip Collard, was quick to commend the officer.
"Because of his compassionate and quick response, he saved the life of this little girl," he said.
Also in December, Wisconsin National Guard Soldier Jasmyne Harris, a supply specialist, saved a choking toddler in Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.
"I was going to stop at one restaurant, but then something told me to just keep going, so I found another restaurant that's actually by the gate," Harris said, according to the U.S. Army website.
Upon taking her seat, a waitress cried out that a toddler was choking. Harris said she "went into reaction mode" and began performing the Heimlich maneuver on the young girl.
Staff Sgt. Brandon Grodsky passed by as the incident took place.
"They were all kind of frozen in place and not sure what to do, whereas [Harris] just took that step up and actually acted more in a soldier capacity, being able to handle a stressful situation and not freak out or freeze up," Grodsky said of her heroic deed.