TAYLOR, Mich. (WJBK) - It's probably something you never think about, the small plastic ring at the neck of your water bottle.
But on Monday afternoon, it almost cost 14-year-old Reginald Jones Jr. his life.
"Before it broke [the plastic ring] came up with it. When I drank it, the force from the water stopped it in my throat so I couldn't breathe," says Reginald.
Panicked, Reginald stood up during his math class at Taylor's Trillium Academy attempting to gasp for air .
That's when his friend, freshman Alex Gillman sprang into action.
Initially Alex wasn't aware his friend needed help.
"His back was to us," he said. "We didn't know what was happening at first."
When Alex saw Reginald he took immediate action.
"As soon as he turned around I saw the redness in his eyes. I knew what was going on, that's when I shot right forward," says Alex.
"I was thinking what's going on," he said. "How can I fix it and how much time do I have at the same time."
Then his instincts took over.
"I made the fist went under him and started pushing up to get it out."
Alex began performing the heimlich maneuver. He thrusted his fist 6 times underneath Reginald's rib cage until the plastic ring eventually popped out.
"I was happy I could breathe again," says Reginald.
For Alex, it was a roller coaster of emotion.
"It was like this surge of relief and amazement at the same time knowing just saved his life, and knowing I saved someone else as well as happiness he was ok."
No one is more relieved than Reginald's parents. His father came to the school to thank Alex in person.
Reginald Sr. said, "I couldn't even imagine a day without him so I am just thankful and blessed that Alex was there that he had the wisdom what it took and did what needed to be done.
"It is amazing to me and in my heart I don't have the words to explain how grateful I am as a father that someone was there to help my son."
Alex says his father prepared him for emergency situations.
"My father always told me in a dire situation like that you have seconds to react because that second of hesitation can cost someone their life."
And because of Alex's heroic act, both were back in math class Tuesday.
As teenage boys, Alex and Reginald couldn't help but crack a few jokes about what happened.
"We were at class and were doing a math problem. He was like, 'don't choke' and I was like 'ok,'" Reginald said.
He added, "I'm glad he saved me, our bond is even stronger than it was before."