Spongebob Squarepants Helps 7th Grader Save Choking Best Friend

When Miriam Starobin realized her best friend Allyson Golden was choking on her gum, she used the Heimlich maneuver, which she'd learned from an episode of Spongebob Squarepants.

Worried that your kids watch too much TV? Depending what they’re watching, it may pay off one day—even if they’re paying more attention to cartoons than PBS documentaries.

When Miriam Starobin, a 12-year-old girl from Long Island, New York, noticed that her best friend Allyson Golden was choking on her gum at school, she began to panic. Then she thought back to an episode of Spongebob Squarepants that she’d seen years ago.

“It was like a flash right in my eyes,” Miriam told the New York Post. “I saw in my head Squidward with his clarinet lodged in his throat and then SpongeBob does the Heimlich maneuver and the clarinet comes flying out of his mouth,”

So Miriam pumped hard against Allyson’s abdomen, and several seconds later, the piece of gum came flying out of her mouth. Though Allyson was shaken by the incident, she’d recovered completely within seconds. Her best friend had saved her life.

The girls’ music teacher, Sanford Mauskopf, had missed the start of the choking incident, as the girls were blocked from his view by a music stand. But when he saw the piece of gum shoot across the room, he went over to see what was going on.

When Miriam told him what had happened, he said, “Do you realize what you’ve just done? You’ve saved Allyson’s life. You’re a hero.”

And, by proxy, we guess Spongebob is too.

(If you want to learn the Heimlich maneuver for yourself, there are probably better teachers than Spongebob. We’d start here.)