By Genesee Keevil
On Tuesday, Troy Wobma set out to deliver the mail and ended up saving a life.
The Canada Post employee was in a cab heading to his Riverdale route when things got grim.
The driver was eating bridge mix, said Wobma. “And he really started coughing.”
Wobma kept asking him if he was OK, but didn’t get a response.
“Then he slumped over the steering wheel and drifted across the road into a snowbank,” he said.
“He had the gas matted and the wheels were spinning.
“I could tell he’d lost consciousness.”
Wobma jumped out of the vehicle, shoveled the snow away from the driver’s door, and jabbed his elbow into the cabbie’s chest.
“In the snowbank I didn’t think I could get him out (of the vehicle) fast enough,” he said.
“And I was dressed for the climate and had my mail satchels on—so all I could do was bury my elbow in his chest and drive forward into his abdomen.”
Wobma managed to dislodge the chocolate-covered peanut, and the cabbie came to.
“He was a bit startled,” said Wobma.
“He was disoriented.”
And he put his hands up, as if Wobma was trying to attack him.
“You come to and someone’s standing in your face, it’s kind of an instinct,” said the cabbie, who asked that his and his company’s name not be published.
“I’m embarrassed it happened,” he said.
The first thing he said to Wobma was, “Didn’t I just drop you off?”
The last thing the driver remembered was choking on Glossettes.
“I was basically going blue,” he said.
“Then I got all my air back and sucked in.” That’s when the chocolaty nuts still in his mouth got lodged firmly in his throat.
“I was turning blue and (Wobma) was turning white,” he said with a laugh.
It could have been a lot worse, said the cabbie.
“We were right in front of Christ the King (elementary school)—I had trouble sleeping just thinking about it.”
A couple of public works guys helped push the cab out of the bank after the incident, and the cabbie dropped Wobma off at the start of his route.
“I had to take 20 minutes then, just to catch my breath,” said the cabbie.
“And I haven’t talked to the guy since.”
It wasn’t until he heard about it on the radio, that the cabbie realized Wobma had dislodged the peanut by jabbing an elbow into his chest.
“The guy knew what he was doing,” said the cabbie.
But then, Wobma’s had practice.
“It’s the fourth time this has happened to me,” said the postman.
Wobma used to work in the food industry, and in those 12 years he gave two different customers the Heimlich manoeuvre.
The other time was in a convenience store, when a man buckled over at the counter.
“He’d choked on one of those nugget chocolate bars, a Mr. Goodbar, and I got behind him and forced it out,” said Wobma.
Wobma received his first-aid training in college and has kept it up to date over the years.
“I think everyone should take it,” he said.
“You never know when you might need it, and if you’ve got small children…
“It’s a simple procedure everyone should know how to do.”
“If Wobma hadn’t been there, God knows what would have happened,” said the cabbie.
“I haven’t had a chance to respond, but I’m definitely grateful.
“Most people are trying to kill cabbies, not save their lives.”
Contact Genesee Keevil at