When Lalitha Mareddy of suburban St. Paul, Minn., saw a man at the bottom of her apartment complex's pool, she urged several men standing nearby to dive in. None of them did. Like Mareddy, they couldn't swim, per CNN. "In our culture, it's not a usual thing to do—to go for swimming lessons, especially for girls," says Mareddy, who moved with her family to the US from India three years ago. It was at that point she was thankful to have put her 11-year-old son through swimming lessons in the US, reports KARE. "I saw him go to the bottom of the pool and collect rings and come up. That just flashed in my mind," she tells CNN. At her request, fifth-grader Advaik jumped into action Sunday. Swimming down, the 80-pound boy grabbed the man by the wrist and pulled him to the surface.
Advaik's father then helped guide the man to the pool's edge. Relying on how he'd seen it performed in movies, Advaik's uncle, Suseel Kumar Nandikotkur, administered CPR on the 34-year-old man, who went on to make a full recovery. "If [Advaik] had not been there … I'm sure it would not be a happy ending," Nandikotkur tells CNN. Indeed, he "saved a guy who was drowning," says an officer with the Eagan Police Department, which has nominated Advaik for its "Life Saving Award." The man later visited Advaik's family, offering a $50 gift card for the trouble. "He said thank you, and then I went to another room because I'm not really interested in that grown-up talk," says Advaik. He's just thankful the man survived since, had he died, "it would be hard for his family to get through." (A former firefighter died a hero on Saturday.)