Nail-biter! Salon manager saves choking girl with the Heimlich • Brooklyn Paper

Nail-biter! Salon manager saves choking girl with the Heimlich

Candy man: Galo Agudo saved the life of 7-year-old Isabella Schlachet after she started choking on a butterscotch candy while her mom, Lisa Gorlitsky, was getting her nails done at Agulo’s Park Slope salon last week.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

A heroic Park Slope nail salon manager saved the life of a choking 7-year-old girl, using the Heimlich Maneuver to dislodge the butterscotch candy he had given her minutes earler.

Every parent’s nightmare was narrowly avoided as Galo Aguda — who runs Romy’s Nails on Seventh Avenue near 10th Street — rescued PS 107 student Isabella Schlachet, who began choking on the complimentary candy while her mom got a nail touch-up.

“Her lips were blue and her face was panicked,” said Isabella’s mom, Lisa Gorlitsky, the actress and shoe model. “I was keenly aware that time was running out.”

Gorlitsky had tried to emply the Heimlich Maneuver by grabbing Isabella from behind, then using her hands to thrust upward twice, just below her diaphragm.

But the candy wouldn’t budge — and “30 seconds feels like forever when your child isn’t breathing,” she said.

So she screamed for help, and Agudo, who was standing at the counter, came running.

The salon manager had never learned the Heimlich — but intuition and maybe a bit of copycatting guided him: He wrapped his arms around the girl, balled up his fists — and with one strong, swift motion — pushed in and pulled upward, just above her bellybutton.

“I thought, ‘Oh, my God,’ ” he said. “I had never learned how to do it.”

That’s when the candy flew out of her throat — causing her to vomit and gasp for air.

It took a few minutes before Isabella realized how close she’d come to real danger and later asked her mom, “You mean I could have died?”

Now Gorlitsky is a one-woman Heimlich champion, reminding all parents to brush up on the 37-year-old maneuver.

True to the very definition of heroism, Agudo told The Brooklyn Paper that the dramatic event “was nothing” and that her was simply “glad to help.”

Of course, his “help” was certainly not “nothing” to Gorlitsky.

“I want people to know he is a hero,” she said. “How do you ever repay someone for that?”

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