CHICAGO — Mark Buttacavoli said he would have been dead — thanks to a steak sandwich — had it not been for Mike Brady.
Buttacavoli on Thursday was at Ricobene's, 252 W. 26th St., munching on one of the restaurant's famous breaded steak sandwiches when he started choking.
“My friend jumped up and tried to perform the Heimlich maneuver, but it wasn’t working," Buttacavoli said. "Thank God there were four Sheriff’s office employees sitting at a table nearby."
One of them was Brady, director of support services for the Cook County Sheriff’s Office. Brady started performing the Heimlich maneuver and, after several attempts, dislodged the piece of steak sandwich fromt Buttacavoli's throat.
"I’m telling you, I was dying, if it wasn’t for Mike, I’d be dead right now. I’m grateful to him and all of the Sheriff’s officers there," Buttacavoli said.
The Cook County Sheriff’s Office will consider Brady for an internal Life Saving award, spokesman Samuel Randall said.
Brady said he was eating at the restaurant, which is popular with police officers and law enforcement officials, when he "heard some commotion and huffing and puffing behind us."
"We turned around and saw a young man clearly in distress and his acquaintance attempting to do the Heimlich maneuver unsuccessfully," Brady said.
Brady said jumped in — and his years of training "just kicked in for me."
"I did the Heimlich and on the third time a large piece of sandwich dislodged from the young man’s throat," Brady recalled. "He was very grateful and appreciative and said he felt like he was dying and we had saved him. ... I’m glad we were there to help."
The incident did not kill Brady's appetite: He went back to his table and finished his lunch.
"I washed my hands and returned to my own sandwich," he said.