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Teen Employee Jumps Through Drive-Thru to Save Customer

When 15-year-old Sydney Raley clocked in for her shift at a McDonald's she didn't expect to clock out as a hero. After handing a customer some of her food in the drive-thru, Sydney leaned back out of the window to let her know the rest was on the way. That's when Sydney noticed the woman was choking on a chicken nugget.

Sydney said, "She was coughing like crazy, and I noticed she was gagging. Her daughter was in the passenger seat and she looked so freaked out. I immediately knew 'Oh, no, she's choking.'" Sydney instructed both her manager and the woman's daughter to call 911 as she quickly jumped through the window to help the woman.

Sydney said she took a Red Cross class at age 11, where she learned the Heimlich maneuver, and "all that training immediately kicked in." The maneuver didn't work the first couple of times Sydney tried, so she called on a bystander to assist. "We worked together and were able to successfully dislodge the food from her throat.”

Eventually, the nugget was set free, and the woman was able to breathe again. Afterward, the woman was in shock but very thankful toward Sydney.

Around the corner were Sydney’s parents, Tom and Stephanie, who were on their way to pick her up. Tom said, "There was an ambulance and a police car sitting there and I looked at my wife and said, 'Please tell me that's not something for Sydney,'" And sure enough Sydney is sitting outside waiting for us to pick her up and says, 'So this happened today.'" Tom said that Sydney was diagnosed with autism when she was younger. “We always worried it was going to be a challenge for her, and it's done a complete 180. It's actually been a blessing and a gift at this point. All the things we worried about never happened."

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