On Saturday, a 15-year-old McDonald’s employee started her shift preparing coffee and ended it saving a customer’s life.
Sydney Raley, who works at McDonald’s in Eden Prairie, south of Minneapolis, expected a normal day. She was working the drive-thru when she noticed a woman choking on a chicken nugget and sprang out the window to help the woman, Raley told CNN.
Raley performed the Heimlich maneuver.
“She was coughing like crazy, and I noticed she was gagging,” Sydney told CNN. “Her daughter was in the passenger seat, and she looked so freaked out. I immediately knew, ‘Oh, no, she’s choking.’”
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Raley called on a stranger to help her continue the Heimlich maneuver, and the two worked to “successfully dislodge the food from her throat.”
The woman was able to breathe once again and thanked Raley, who received $100 from the Edina Police Department’s fund for those who do good deeds in the community.
Raley’s father told KARE 11 she is on the autism spectrum, and he’s proud of how much she’s accomplished.
“I always tell her she has a gift, because she’s autistic,” Tom told KARE 11. “She can remember anything – do anything. It’s crazy.”
The McDonald’s franchise owner-operator Paul Ostergaard told USA TODAY he is “extremely proud” of how Sydney protected the customer.
“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,” Ostergaard said.
Reflecting on her contribution to saving the woman’s life, Raley said she feels more capable than ever.
“You feel as though like I’m actually capable of contributing to society and actually like capable of making a difference,” Raley told KARE 11.
Follow Gabriela Miranda on Twitter: @itsgabbymiranda
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