A Minnesota teenager who has Autism is being called a hero after the young McDonald’s worker jumped through a drive-thru window to rescue a choking woman.
Sydney Raley, 15, was working at the fast food restaurant Saturday during a shift she said was, for the most part, relatively typical.
“The day had been mostly normal — making coffee, making drinks,” she told CNN. “Going into the lunch rush, it was all normal.”
But that normalcy was shattered in a split second when she looked out the window to inform a customer her food was ready — and saw that the woman was in crisis.
The victim, who was choking on a chicken nugget, was coughing and her daughter had the look of “sheer terror” on her face. Raley told KARE-TV she knew she needed to act quickly.
Without missing a beat, the teen — who remembered first aid training she received at age 11 — leapt through the window and sprung into superhero-like action.
“I jumped out the window of the drive-through and I got her out of the car and I told her daughter to call 911,” Raley said. “I started doing the Heimlich maneuver, but I’m not really strong so it didn’t work the first couple times.”
The heroic teen then flagged someone else down, who was able to successfully help remove the nugget. Raley said she’s grateful the bystander was there to help her save the woman.
“I am decent at first aid, but if it weren’t for him and our efforts together, it could’ve ended so much worse,” she said.
Raley’s mom, Stephanie, said her daughter remembers events as a script, which is likely what helped her recall first aid training and, in turn, help the woman in crisis.
Police awarded Raley with two $50 bills for her amazing efforts, saying, “We could use more of her in this world.”
Her employer, Paul Ostergaard, released a statement to CNN expressing how “incredibly proud” he is of Raley and proclaiming that she “truly personifies what it is to be a hero.”
“We are excited to see all of the well-deserved recognition she has received from the community,” he said. “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.”
The most inspiring part of the story, though, is Raley’s belief, learned through the experience, that she is able to truly make a difference in the world.
“You feel as though like, ‘Huh, I’m actually capable of contributing to society and actually like capable of making a difference,'” she said.
What an amazing story and an incredibly heroic act. Bravo, Sydney!
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