A Minnesota teen served up more than just burgers and fries during her Saturday shift at McDonald’s. Throughout the seven months 15-year-old Sydney Raley spent working at the McDonald’s in Eden Prairie, her biggest challenges consisted of handling the daily lunch rush. That is, until a seemingly-typical day at the drive-thru turned almost catastrophic.
The hard-working teen was in the midst of her weekend shift, taking orders and handing customers their food through the drive-thru window. Working in food service can be incredibly hectic, but Sydney’s attentiveness and quick thinking meant the difference between life and death for one customer. After handing a woman and her daughter their first bag of food, Sydney turned to check on the remainder of their order. When the 15-year-old went to update her customers, she noticed something was seriously wrong.
“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.'”
Sydney learned the Heimlich maneuver from a Red Cross class for babysitters years before, and almost automatically, her training kicked in. After instructing both her manager and the customer’s daughter to call 911, Sydney leaped through the drive-thru window to do whatever she could to save the woman’s life.
With the help of a bystander, Sydney dislodged the chicken nugget from the choking woman’s throat. Though the customer was still in a state of shock, her immense gratitude was evident. The heroic teen received a reward from the Edina Police Department for her heroism, and well-earned praise from her community as a whole.