Chick-fil-A may be known for its fast service and delicious waffle fries, but one of its Austin employees has also now earned a reputation as a lifesaver thanks to his quick thinking while on the clock.
On Saturday around 6 p.m., a customer at the Southpark Meadows Chick-fil-A in South Austin began choking on a piece of chicken, the store’s administrative director Courtney Westbrook said. After a fellow diner attempted unsuccessfully to help him, employee Hunter Harris stepped in, giving the man the Heimlich maneuver until the chicken dislodged.
“I immediately knew that something needed to be done,” Harris said. “There was no hesitation. It was a scary situation, but I knew that I was going to do my best. I knew he needed help.”
Afterward, Harris said the man appeared shocked but otherwise OK. Employees got him a new to-go dinner, and he headed home.
Westbrook said the entire store was relieved by the outcome.
“Of course everybody was shocked and elated,” Westbrook said. “We were happy that the customer was good and well after that happened. We always want to make sure the customer is safe.”
This isn’t the first time that Harris, who is 23 and from Bastrop, has performed the Heimlich on the job. He previously used it on a Chick-fil-A co-worker who was choking in the kitchen.
“I’m just grateful for the way it worked out,” Harris said. “I’m happy for the gentleman that experienced that. That’s what means the most to me -- that’s he’s good to go.”
Westbrook said she wasn’t surprised that Harris, who is a certified Chick-fil-A trainer, was the one to step in and save the day.
“He’s a great employee,” she said. “He’s always searching for ways to be better, not only for himself, but also for the store.”
CBS Austin shared video of the incident on Twitter:
VIDEO: Southpark Meadows Chick-fil-A employee saves choking customer https://t.co/dHNPEbT3Ip pic.twitter.com/IwmP5UOcN0— CBS Austin (@cbsaustin) June 26, 2018