A life-saving act was the result of a man being in the “right place at the right time,” according to a restaurant that captured the good deed on security footage.
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But it seems faith also played a role in the chance encounter.
Sarah Schlereth, a customer at Mann Meats, a restaurant in Florissant, Missouri, found herself choking and needing assistance Sept. 2 while eating at the establishment.
Footage shows Schlereth jumping out of her seat in distress and walking over to Richard and Doretta Irwin, two strangers from out of town who were seemingly waiting in line.
“I was trying to get the food to go down, and it got stuck to where I couldn’t breathe at all,” Schlereth told KSDK-TV. “Something just told me to go over there.”
Watch the dramatic moment:
And it was a good thing she did, as Richard Irwin immediately started doing the Heimlich maneuver, something he was familiar with due to his own mother’s past struggles with choking.
Schlereth was shaken up after the incident, but Irwin went over to comfort her — and even asked if he could pray with her.
Richard and Doretta Irwin then gathered around Schlereth and invoked God, KSDK-TV reported.
The outlet noted something fascinating about Doretta Irwin’s shirt, too: it had Bible verses on the back. The text, seen on security footage, read, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself.”
This is a biblical calling — found in Matthew 22:37-39 — the Irwins so beautifully lived out.
“I guess it was an appropriate shirt to have on to what happened Friday,” Doretta Irwin told KSDK-TV, noting the couple wear the shirts when they do prison ministry.
Schlereth was in shock after the incident and didn’t get to tell the couple everything she wanted to say; she also didn’t know the couple’s identities. So, Mann Meats published the security footage on Facebook, and the internet helped track down the Irwin family.
The couple reunited with Schlereth at the establishment Monday morning and the former strangers left as friends, bound together by the kind, life-saving deed.
Doretta Irwin said there’s a lesson in it all: “We can make the world a better place if we do love our neighbors as ourselves.”
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