McDonald's Drive-Thru Worker, 15, Saves Customer

Sydney Raley of Minnesota is being hailed as a hero
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 21, 2021 3:32 AM CST
Updated Dec 25, 2021 4:00 PM CST
Teen McDonald's Worker Jumps Through Drive-Thru Window to Save Customer
File photo of a McDonalds restaurant.   (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

It was a normal day at work for Sydney Raley, 15, at a McDonald's near Minneapolis, Minnesota—until it wasn't. After the teen handed a female drive-thru customer part of her order Saturday, she turned back to the car to tell her the rest of her order was coming up and saw the woman in distress. "She was coughing like crazy, and I noticed she was gagging," the teen tells CNN. Realizing the woman had choked on a chicken McNugget, Raley quickly told both her manager and the customer's daughter, who was in the passenger seat, to call 911. Then she leaped through the drive-thru window and got the woman out of the car, KARE 11 reports.

Raley, who learned the Heimlich maneuver as part of a Red Cross class when she was a babysitter at age 11, started doing it on the woman and eventually managed to dislodge the nugget with the help of a bystander she called over when she realized she needed assistance. When police arrived, they gave Raley a $100 reward from a community fund for good Samaritans. "I always tell her she has a gift, because she's autistic," says her dad. "She can remember anything—do anything." Adds the owner-operator of the Eden Prairie McDonald's, "We ... will continue to celebrate her courageous efforts of literally jumping out of the drive-thru window to provide aid to a customer in need." (More uplifting news stories.)

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