Minnesota McDonald's 15-year-old's quick actions save choking customer in drive-thru line

Eden Prairie police give $100 reward to Sydney Raley

A 15-year-old Minnesota McDonalds employee is being hailed by police after jumping through the drive-thru window of her restaurant to rescue a choking customer. 

Sydney Raley’s heroic actions unfolded Saturday outside of a McDonalds in Eden Prairie and earned her two $50 bills from police officers that responded to the scene, according to KARE 11. 

"Our crime fund gave every officer fifty dollars to hand out to wherever we feel the need, [including] if somebody did outstanding work, above and beyond," Eden Prairie Sgt. Scott Mittelstadt told the station, explaining how the money is distributed to locals each holiday season. "She is well-deserving of that money." 

McDonalds restaurant exterior

A McDonald's employee in Eden Prairie, Minn., is being credited with helping save a customer who was choking. (iStock)


In an interview with KARE 11, Raley says she was working the drive-thru window when she noticed a woman she was serving was "coughing profusely and her daughter just had this look on her face like sheer terror. 

"I could tell oh, crap, she’s choking! Just seeing that visceral reaction I knew we need to act fast," Raley said. 

The teen told the station she then jumped through the drive-thru window, instructed the woman’s daughter to call 911 and started doing the Heimlich maneuver after getting the customer out of her vehicle. 

"I started doing the Heimlich maneuver, but I’m not really strong so it didn’t work the first couple times," Raley said. 

The teen then called over a bystander who managed to dislodge a chicken nugget that was stuck in the woman’s throat, the station reported, citing Raley and first responders. 

The teenager was recognized by Eden Prairie's police department for her actions. (AP)


"It could’ve ended a lot worse but I am super thankful for that bystander who helped so much," Raley told KARE 11. "Because I am decent at first aid, but if it weren’t for him and our efforts together, it could’ve ended so much worse." 

The two Eden Prairie police officers who responded to the scene gave Raley the cash. 

"You feel as though like... I’m actually capable of contributing to society and actually like capable of making a difference," Raley told KARE 11.