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?