A 15-year-old McDonald’s worker in Minnesota is being hailed as a hero for jumping through her drive-thru window to save a customer choking on a chicken nugget.
Sydney Raley was just about to end her humdrum shift Saturday at the Mickey D’s in Eden Prairie near Minneapolis when the medical emergency occurred, CNN reported.
“The day had been mostly normal — making coffee, making drinks. Going into the lunch rush, it was all normal,” Sydney, who has been working at the Golden Arches for seven months, told the network.
But things took a dramatic turn when the teen — whose family said is autistic — handed a customer part of an order and then stuck her head out the window to tell the woman that the rest of her food was on the way.
“She was coughing like crazy, and I noticed she was gagging,” Sydney said. “Her daughter was in the passenger seat, and she looked so freaked out. I immediately knew, ‘Oh, no! She’s choking.’ ”
The quick-thinking teen, who learned the Heimlich maneuver when she took a baby-sitting first-aid class at age 11, said she jumped into action as “all that training kicked in.”
After instructing her manager and the customer’s daughter to call 911, Sydney tried the life-saving maneuver – and called on a bystander to help when it didn’t dislodge the nugget at first.
“We worked together and were able to successfully dislodge the food from her throat.” Sydney told CNN, adding that the woman promptly began breathing again.
The girl said two responding police officers rewarded her with $100 from a fund earmarked for good Samaritans.
“They said, ‘Congratulations you’re a lifesaver — you’re a hero,’ ” Sydney said.
Meanwhile, her parents, Tom and Stephanie, were on their way to pick her up after her shift.
“There was an ambulance and a police car sitting there, and I looked at my wife and said, ‘Please tell me that’s not something for Sydney,’ ” the father told CNN. “And sure enough, Sydney is sitting outside waiting for us to pick her up and says, ‘So this happened today.’ “
Tom also told CNN that Sydney is autistic.
“We always worried it was going to be a challenge for her, and it’s done a complete 180,” he said. “It’s actually been a blessing and a gift at this point. All the things we worried about never happened.”
Franchise owner-operator Paul Ostergaard told CNN in a statement: “We are incredibly proud of Sydney and her quick, heroic actions over the weekend to help one of our valued customers.
“Sydney truly personifies what it is to be a hero and we are incredibly lucky to have her as a highly-valued crew member at our Eden Prairie restaurant location. We are excited to see all of the well-deserved recognition she has received from the community and will continue to celebrate her courageous efforts of literally jumping out of the drive-thru window to provide aid to a customer in need.”