Hero Waiter in Wisconsin

A 18 year-old waiter in Wisconsin saved a life this week when a customer started choking. He pulled the Heimlich maneuver out of his back pocket and dislodged a piece of chicken she was choking on. (And speaking of Choking Chicken…) Way to go, Adam Knowles (half-brother to Beyonce). Basil Restaurant in the village of Weston, Wisconsin has a hero in their midst.

I once saw someone choking at the Black-Eyed Pea in Houston once (read about it here) and just a few months ago there was another hero waiter who saved a life in his restaurant. I guess when we constantly work around people stuffing over-sized bites of food into their pie holes all day, it’s only a matter of time before someone lets it go “down the wrong pipe” as the choking victim claimed. Adam proved that he was a true angel of food service when afterwards he held her hand to make sure she was okay. The woman eventually finished her meal because you know she wasn’t gonna let that $9.00 grilled chicken wrap go to waste. And seeing that it was in Wisconsin, I can only assume that it had some cheddar cheese on it too. After the incident, Adam was quoted as saying that she “wasn’t the best tipper.” Hold the phone, what? This lady had her life saved by her waiter and she still left a less than decent tip? I expect 15% if I get the order correct and everything is served in an efficient and professional manner. If I go above and beyond the minimum by doing something like acknowledging the existence of your children, I expect 25%. If I save your life you best be coughing up some cash right after you cough up that dry ass piece of chicken that I dislodged from your esophagus. The nerve.

If I ever again see someone choking in my station, before I perform the Heimlich, I suppose I will be forced to get their credit card and go swipe it really quick so they can fill in the tip line. That way I will know how much effort I should put into this whole “life saving” thing. The credit card machine is really slow sometimes, so hopefully the choker has some cold hard cash they can pull out immediately. When someone is choking, it’s not good to wait for the credit card machine to dial and process. Valuable time can be wasted. After their card has been authorized, I will then give them a form to fill out that makes them promise that they will not sue me if I happen to break a rib or two in the process of saving their life. The form will also state that in the event their life is not saved despite my heroic efforts, the next of kin will be responsible for tipping me on what turned out to be the last supper. Providing the credit card is approved and the forms are submitted properly, I will then begin to perform the Heimlich to the best of my ability. I learned it in the seventh grade and I am pretty sure that I can still recall how to do it properly. If not, no biggie.

So way to go, Adam Knowles for doing what every waiter should do in that situation. You are a hero! You can’t pay the bills with hero status though, so if you see her coming back into the restaurant, I would pass her over to another server. And suggest a grilled chicken wrap smoothie next time.

Have you ever had to perform the Heimlich?

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14 thoughts on “Hero Waiter in Wisconsin

  1. Anonymous

    Yes, but it was a coworker that decided to eat about a 3oz size of meat in one bite then not do the international sign for choking. She almost died because she was just wandering around pounding on her chest before I noticed.

  2. Andrew

    That is really discouraging. And I'm glad he mentioned it that she wasn't a great tipper. Hopefully it will embarrass her even further. Not that she is obligated to tip anything, or pay him for saving her life, but seriously…People are just the absolute worst.

  3. Adam Hawthorne

    Seriously! Obviously you could never find anything in your purse that would properly compensate someone for SAVING YOUR LIFE, but seriously, make the effort at least. I had to give a guy the heimlich once at an amusement park once, but he was really hot so it was kind of hard to let go even after he coughed up the turkey. He was like "oh thank you so much" and I was like, "no, thank you"

  4. omcdurham

    I was once in the same situation…I Heimliched an old bag who was choking on a crabcake. The other members of her party were absolutely clueless as to what I was doing, or what she was experiencing. A lady across the table got a face full of partially used crabcake, but their friend was able to walk, holding my hand, to the ambulance. When I gave the check to the discombobulated group, I got a 10% tip from them, but a $50 tip from a table nearby, that I didn't even wait on!

  5. sally

    I did the heimlach on a neighbor girl when I was myself only about 12. She was choking on a peanut butter sandwich. There were about 6 of us neighbor kids there, and we never told our parents about the choking incident because we knew that then they wouldn't let us play unsupervised at the girls' house where it occurred. We didn't want to jeopordize our freedom. I suppose possible death was preferable to parental supervision; we were like Children Of The Corn at that house and it was GREAT!

  6. Martin

    Yeah, I hiemliched a girlfriend once. We were at friends, she got some chicken stuck (why is it always chicken?). I was six sheets to the wind, and the soberest of the four of us. I'm not sure the other two even noticed…

  7. Frank the Angry Lobster

    I would never expect a prize or compensation for saving a life, but that does seem kinda shitty to not even tip properly for a guy not only doing his job well, but also saving your life and then continuing to serve well. That is, if she really didn't tip well. I mean, without a figure to go by, "not tipping well" is very subjective.

  8. Anonymous

    Haha, about a month ago some high school kids were on what seemed like a first date in my section, the guy even pulled me aside and asked me to give the full check to him which I thought was adorable.Later on I passed by the table and saw him gasping and sputtering like crazy, and I sprang into action. I successfully dislodged a fish bone from his airways and he thanked me over and over again. I actually felt bad for him (choking on a first date and all) until the pair left the restaurant. Yep, you guessed it, bastard stiffed me.

  9. Frank the Angry Lobster

    I knew it. I went back and read the article for the comments, and as it turns out, Knowles commented on it. He said that he was being facetious when he said she wasn't a good tipper, and she actually gave 20% and was very grateful. Apparently the author of the article didn't include the context of the quote. Very typical of news stories, which is why I stated earlier that it would be shitty for her to do that IF she really did.

  10. Anonymous

    LMAO!!! This same thing happened at work- and do you know what the server was given?!!? TWO DAMN DOLLARS!!!! This was after he ran 6 stations over, lifted the man out his seat and guided him to safety. And I kid you not, the man then asked for his steak to be made over because it had gotten "cold".

  11. Floretta

    Three times, so far. Twice for my mother, who had had a stroke so her swallowing reflex did not work well. The third time was at lunch with a friend, at the hospital where we both worked, in a cafeteria full of doctors and nurses. She’s choking (on the beef from a french dip sandwich) and me, the librarian, I’M the one doing the Heimlich while all the medical personnel are oblivious. On the other hand I worked for 7 years in a restaurant and never saw anyone needing medical assistance, which is a good thing.


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