Malik Gipson is not only celebrating his ninth birthday today, he’s also being honored for saving his two-year old brother from choking.
Malik and his younger brother, Michael, were visiting their great-grandmother at her home in Jonesboro, Ga., in December when Michael became envious of a piece of hard peppermint candy that Malik was eating. So Michael took a piece, put it in his mouth -- and started to choke.
Their great-grandmother, 66-year-old Elaine Pines, was watching Malik, Michael, and their 11-month old sister, Mariah, while the children’s parents worked outside in the front yard.
"Just as I looked around, Michael was slobbering at the mouth,” Pines told msnbc.com. “And I said, 'Malik! He swallowed it.'”
Seeing that his great-grandmother was holding their baby sister in her arms, Malik sprung to action and performed the Heimlich maneuver on his brother.
"I was scared. I was thinking he was going to pass away,” Malik said. “I grabbed him by the chest and kept doing the Heimlich maneuver and kept doing it until it came out.” On Malik’s third attempt, the peppermint flew across the floor.
At the time, Pines said, she was “a nervous wreck."
"Malik ran to get his mom and dad outside and told them what happened,” she said.
At first, Camellia and Tronte Gipson were confused by the sight of Malik in the front yard, holding a peppermint candy.
“We didn’t think it was anything at first, but when Elaine came to the door, she was shaking and frantic,” said Camellia Tronte. “But Michael still had color in his face and he was breathing, so we didn’t call an ambulance.”“The night of the incident, we were sitting in the car, and Michael said, ‘Malik saved my life.’ And it brought me to tears,” said Camellia. “For a two-year old to say something like that, at that moment, it was very touching.”
Pictured: Camellia Gipson, Tronte Gipson and their children Malik, Michael, and Mariah.
(Picture courtesy of the Gipson family)