A Minnesota teenager working at McDonald's jumped from the drive-thru window when she noticed a customer choking in her car, taking quick action and performing the Heimlich maneuver.
Sydney Raley, 15, said she noticed one of her customers "coughing profusely" while pulling up to the drive-thru window during her Saturday shift.
"I noticed that she was coughing profusely, and her daughter just had this look on her face like sheer terror," Raley said. "I could tell, 'Oh, crap, she’s choking.' Just seeing that visceral reaction, I knew we need to act fast."
"I jumped out the window of the drive-thru and I got her out of the car and I told her daughter to call 911. I started doing the Heimlich maneuver, but I’m not really strong so it didn’t work the first couple times," she continued.
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Raley said she took first-aid training when she was 11 for her certification to become a babysitter.
She called over a bystander for help, who was able to dislodge a chicken nugget from the choking customer's throat.
"It could’ve ended a lot worse, but I am super thankful for that bystander who helped so much," Raley explained. "Because I am decent at first aid, but if it weren’t for him and our efforts together, it could’ve ended so much worse."
Guys. You will WANT to tune into @kare11 for a very amazing story!!!! This is Sydney Raley. She is a ray of sunshine, a brilliant young woman who also happens to have autism. Yesterday, she noticed one of her customers choking at the @McDonalds drive-thru window, and she 1/ pic.twitter.com/TVBVtLcyG1— Eva Andersen - KARE 11 News (@EvaKare11) December 19, 2021
Raley was rewarded with $100 for her heroism by two officers from the Eden Prairie Police Department who responded to the scene.
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"Our crime fund gave every officer $50 to hand out to wherever we feel the need, [including] if somebody did outstanding work, above and beyond," Sgt. Scott Mittelstadt said. "She is well deserving of that money."
Raley said her perspective has been changed by the experience.
"You feel as though, like, 'Huh, I’m actually capable of contributing to society and actually, like, capable of making a difference,'" she said.