KINGSTON, Okla. (KTEN) — A causal family dinner at a Kingston restaurant quickly escalated into a life-or-death situation.

Fortunately, a uniquely qualified patron was able to save the day.

"It's like time slowed down; nothing mattered other than that little girl being able to breathe," said Kingston police Chief Kasey Cox. "I can only imagine what that's like not being able to breathe and wondering if anyone can help you." 

Eight-year-old Rozlynn Nichols was enjoying dinner with her family at Gecko's Grill when her family noticed something was wrong.

"Oh just immediate panic, because I saw her eyes bug out. I knew immediately that she was choking," said Dean Balentine, Rozlynn's grandfather. "I should have jumped, but I panicked because it's my granddaughter." 

This happened to be the same night as the Kingston's Police Department's third annual Tip a Cop night at Gecko's.  Cox was just a few tables away.

"I rushed over there to her and grabbed her out the seated position and started back thrusts to see if that would dislodge what was stuck, and it did not work," the chief recalled.

But Cox didn't give up.

"In one motion I picked her up and began the Heimlich maneuver," he said. "I want say with two or three thrusts she was able to dislodge the object blocking her airway, and she was able to breathe again." 

The events of that night inspired Chief Cox to host free CPR classes open to the public. 

"It happened in the snap of a finger," he said. "Especially those people out there in the rural community... they may have a 15-minute wait at minimum for somebody to respond at the edge of our county. They can at least have something to provide that victim, that person needing assistance, until first responders get there."

Cox plans to host the next CPR class in February.