Category Archives: How to perform the Heimlich

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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I Wanna Be Your Hero

A news article was sent to me praising the actions of a waiter in Atlanta, Georgia who saved the life of a man who was choking on a fucking quesadilla. There is even video of the event. According to the choking victim, “I think I just took a really big bite and forgot to chew.” Uh, okay. Forgot to chew? That might be something he wants to work on for future eating times, but thank God for his waiter Matthew McConnell who had learned the Heimlich at the training for the restaurant. Let’s all give it up to Matthew. He’s a hero. I wrote about this before when I saw a guy choking in my restaurant once and I didn’t know what the hell to do. Thankfully, he wasn’t in my station so I didn’t feel any real responsibility for the poor guy. Another customer jumped up and saved his life. It was all very dramatic and inspired me to sign up for a class in CPR and shit. However, if I remember correctly, the class was happening on the same night as the season finale for Designing Women, so I skipped it. Anhoo, back to our hero, Matthew! Of course he is downplaying the whole “hero” moniker as any modest hero would, but I would be basking all over that hero worship shit. And yes, I am a bit jealous that no one has ever called me their hero.

Shouldn’t I be considered a hero for all the lives I have saved too? Maybe I didn’t pull a piece of quesadilla from someones windpipe, but I have had my moments. What about the time that lady sent her food back three times because the steak was undercooked and then she had the nerve to tell me at the end she wasn’t really hungry anyway? I wanted to strangle that bitch. But I didn’t. Life saved. What about when that kid left his scooter in my way and I tripped over it (on purpose to prove a point)? I could have killed that kid for endangering my life, but I didn’t. Another life saved. And finally, what about all those people who get great service and then leave me a 5% tip? That is grounds for manslaughter, but I have never done it. Countless lives saved. I am practically a goddamn fucking superhero when you look at it that way. Sure, this guy Matthew gave the Heimlich and saved one lousy life. I, on the other hand, with restraint and patience have managed to save at least one life every day. I am a hero too, world. Just a different kind of hero. In the immortal words of songstress Enrigue Iglesiais:

I can be you hero baby
I can kiss away the pain
I will stand by you forever
You can take my breath away

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go pick up my cape from the dry cleaners. I got some 1000 Island dressing on it the other night when this lady changed her mind about her salad. She told me she wanted a 1000 Island but when I got to her table she swore that she said Ranch. She didn’t. I tossed the salad into the garbage and got the dressing all over me. I was pissed off and wanted to punch her unconscious. But I didn’t. Yet another life saved. It just doesn’t end for me with the fucking life-saving.


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