TSA agents get a lot of flack, and sometimes deservedly so. They can be rude and irritating, and besides being a thankless job, I’m sure all of this may be a part of the problem. Heck, it even took a whistleblower to get them the protection they needed during COVID.
But in the case I’m about to describe, a TSA worker went above and beyond those kinds of “feel good” stories – she saved a baby’s life while on the job at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR).
Cecilia Morales just became a TSA officer in October. Before that, she had 10 years of experience working as a trained emergency medical technician (EMT) in several Northern New Jersey towns. As it turned out, having that experience was a lifesaver.
According to a TSA press release, A young mother had lifted her two-month-old son from his car carrier seat so she could carry him through the security checkpoint at EWR. But when the mom picked him up, she saw that the boy wasn’t breathing. She immediately asked for help from her co-travelers and then shouted for help when she realized her attempts at rousing her son weren’t working.
Morales began shouting instructions to the mom, “but she was so nervous and I knew if I didn’t get over there, it wasn’t going to be a good outcome. I jumped over the checkpoint conveyor belt rollers and she gave me the baby. I performed the infant Heimlich maneuver on him.”
The press release continued:
She held the infant carefully to keep his airway open. Then she placed him face down on her arm and patted him on the back. No response. She tried again, and the second time he started to breathe again.
“The mother was too nervous and in shock to hold her son, so I carried the infant through the walk through metal detector.” She then waited with the mom for the pediatric EMT to arrive to administer oxygen to the baby.
Here’s the video the TSA released of the incident:
JUST IN: @TSA officer, a former EMT, hailed as a hero after she jumped over a checkpoint conveyor belt to perform Heimlich on an infant who stopped breathing at @EWRairport checkpoint, saving the baby’s life. #TSAHolidayMiracle. The news release: https://t.co/J1yuT05ysw pic.twitter.com/3NfRD7lvPh
— Lisa Farbstein, TSA Spokesperson (@TSA_Northeast) December 23, 2021
“Two months on the job and she’s literally a life-saver,” said Thomas Carter, TSA’s Federal Security Director for New Jersey. “Officer Morales’s quick reaction and actions helped ensure that this family will have a happy holiday season. Her actions were inspiring.”
“I saw the video afterward,” Morales said. “It was the first time I’ve ever seen myself in action, saving a life. It was mind-blowing to watch. I felt that my training and experience just took over.”
“If Officer Morales did not utilize her critical thinking, knowledge and quick response, perhaps we could have had a terrible outcome,” said TSA Manager Ayrana Frazier. “In the moment Officer Morales was selfless, and her priority was to save a life. We are proud to call her one of our own.”
Feature Photo (cropped): Bruce Blaus / Wikimedia
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