Department, he said.
"I am a product of Burbank," said Nelson, who attends UC Santa
Barbara. "I was a lifeguard at McCambridge and Verdugo [parks] for four
years and was trained and certified by the Red Cross of America. On the
plane, I realized how happy I am to have that training."
Home from school for the summer, Nelson donned a suit and tie and was
flying to Oakland with his father for an internship orientation on the
morning of June 19. About 15 minutes into the flight, passengers seated
behind him began screaming for help.
Nelson's reaction was immediate.
"Erik stood up in his seat, put his foot on my leg, jumped into the
aisle, grabbed this guy out of his seat and laid him in the aisle of the
airplane," said father Larry Nelson.
In his service as a lifeguard, Nelson was certified in several areas,
including CPR, water safety, emergency preparedness and life-guarding, he
"For me, it was just another day on the job, even though I was wearing
a suit and tie," Nelson said.
Aiding the flight attendants, Nelson elevated the legs of the sick
passenger and treated him for shock by bringing blankets and checking
vital signs until the flight landed and paramedics could take over.
"It was all instinctive. And when it was over, I couldn't believe I
had done it," Nelson said.
Last week, Southwest Airlines thanked Nelson for his service by giving
him a free round-trip ticket from the airline. The Burbank High School
graduate plans to visit his girlfriend in San Francisco with the ticket,