- Associated Press - Sunday, August 31, 2014

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) - Chris Brown had always heard the adage, “neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night …” but he never thought it would also include saving a choking child.

“They might need to come up with a different name now,” said Brown, flashing a friendly smile.

On a recent Friday, an “average day” for the 48-year-old Greer mailman quickly turned into a life-or-death situation and forged a bond between Brown and a little boy whom he’d never met.

Brown had just popped the mail into the mailbox at Stephanie and John David Cooper’s two-story home when he noticed he’d overlooked a package. He stopped, picked it up and began walking it to the front door, thanking his luck that he’d noticed it before getting too far away.

When he was about halfway there, Stephanie Cooper burst outside, yelling, her baby son in her arms.

A few minutes before, Cooper had been enjoying a quiet afternoon. Eli was snacking on cereal puffs and playing with the package just as he always did. Before she knew it, Eli had somehow torn off a piece of the plastic packaging and put it in his mouth.

Cooper attempted to sweep out the obstruction, but Eli swallowed it before she could get to it.

“He wasn’t crying or anything,” Cooper recalled through tears. That’s how she knew her son was chocking.

Cooper said she grabbed Eli, turned him upside down and tried beating on his back, but to no avail. She thought she heard her husband pull up and began making her way outside, where she saw Brown walking up.

“At this point I’m frantic and crying and yelling for anybody who’d come,” Cooper said.

Brown leapt into action, performing the Heimlich maneuver and dislodging the piece of plastic wrap from Eli’s throat.

“It’s been quite the week,” Brown said, taking a break from his postal route to chat.

He is still in shock about what happened. When he thinks about it, the father of three said the experience still seems a bit like a dream. In a way, it was just reflexive, and he added, “There was no one else.”

Brown has had many experiences in his life. He’s served in the military, he is a Jan-Pro franchisee and runs the professional cleaning service in the evenings, and he is a 24-year veteran with the U.S. Postal Service. But never in his life, he said, has he been faced with a life-or-death situation.

“I’ve heard of (postal workers) saving folks out of a burning home or calling 911, but as far as our post office, I haven’t heard of that,” Brown said.

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