The McIntosh High School football coach is being called a hero for his work off the field in saving a man's life.
Head Coach Lee Belknap and his wife were eating lunch at The Italian Oven Restaurant on Peachtree Shop Center when the man seated next to them started choking.
The man, who was eating with his two young sons at the time, stood up while gasping for air.
Restaurant Manager Brandon Thompson told CBS Atlanta News the coach sprung into action before he could make it over to see what was going on.
"In my opinion he acted quickly and heroically," said Thompson.
The incident happened just days before Christmas.
"We knew he was choking. You don't really have the time to think, you just react," Belknap said.
The coach performed the Heimlich maneuver saving the man's life.
The principal at McIntosh, Lisa Fine, told CBS Atlanta News she's not surprised Belknap got involved.
"He's a strong leader and a humble man," said Fine.
The football team's motto this season was "Win the Day," with emphasis on winning in the classroom, in the community and then on the field.
The Chiefs had their best winning record this season in more than 20 years.
"You think, I guess God had me eating at that restaurant on that very day and at that very time," Belknap said.
In his interview with CBS Atlanta News, the coach was too humble to accept hero status.
But, just like a coach, he was thinking about how he could have done it better.
"I probably need to work on my execution a little bit. It took me two or three times to get, [the food up] but he was OK."
The man thanked the coach by paying his lunch check.
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