MERRILLVILLE, Ind. -- Police Officer Richard Mayer was eating with a few colleagues on Friday when he noticed a toddler turning purple a few tables away.
Before he knew it, the mother picked up her child and started running toward Mayer for help.
It all happened at a Chik-Fil-A restaurant in Merrillville. Melanie Hasse said her daughter, Charlotte, started choking while they were eating lunch.
"I looked over and she started gagging. I could see something kind of in the back of her throat, mistakenly reached in to try to grab it out, I think that pushed it back into her throat," said Hasse.
That's when Hasse ran to Mayer.
"She came running over...I grabbed her and Officer Ramos to my right flipped her over, we did back slaps on her and got food dislodged from her throat right away," said Mayer.
Dislodging a tiny piece of apple from Charlotte's throat was Mayer's first act as a paid police officer in Hobart, Indiana.
"That caught us all off guard," he said.
Hasse couldn't have been more grateful.
"This is what he was meant to do," she said. "To save lives in some kind of way."
Indiana cop saves choking toddler in first act as paid police officer