Joanne Kadiecki and her 7 year old grandson were excited for a fun day at the zoo when they visited Southwick’s on Thursday, June 22. 

However, while sitting on the train, Joanne’s grandson got a piece of candy stuck in his throat. Joanne attempted to dislodge the candy but couldn’t do it. She grabbed her choking grandson and took him off the ride where she came across Bob Desjardins, or as many call him, Hoho. 

Hoho, 80, is the train driver at Southwick’s Zoo. He called over to the worker in the ticket booth and quickly assessed the situation. He hit the child on the back a few times until he started coughing and the candy came flying out. 

“I was very nervous and a wreck” said Joanne in an email written to Southwick’s Zoo after the heroic incident. 

Due to Bob’s clear headed and quick thinking, Joanne’s grandson was fine and the family were able to enjoy a relaxing train ride. 

On Tuesday June 27, Southwick’s Zoo recognized Bob for his heroic actions and awarded him a certificate of heroic valor. After receiving the certificate, Bob said it was a team effort. He credited Colleen, the retail worker at the train station, and Rick, our security guard. Both of which helped to make sure the child was alright. 

The certificate honors Bob for his exceptional bravery and swift action, which resulted in saving someone’s life. His heroic efforts reflect the highest ideals of compassion and humanity. Southwick’s Zoo is incredibly grateful to have Hoho on its team and presented this honor as a testament to his remarkable heroism. 

Bob has been driving the train at Southwick’s for 14 years. He approaches every day with a smile and an amazing attitude that guests often praise. He works hard to make sure he isn’t just providing a service for our guests but an experience as well.