“They Threw the Baby at Me, Screaming and Crying [and] Saying ‘Save My Baby! Save My Baby!”

On 1 August 2012 at a McDonald’s in Mt. Druitt, New South Wales, Australia, manager James Hacker, age 21, became a hero when he saved the life of a choking baby girl. Mr. Hacker said about the baby girl’s parents, “They threw the baby at me, screaming and crying [and] saying ‘Save my baby! Save my baby!’” The baby was Vaokakala Nevaeh Mara Tere-Vave, who was 14 months old. Mr. Hacker said, “I had to put my hands in her mouth to get the food that she was choking on out. She was biting down on my fingers, but I knew it had to come out, otherwise who knows what would have happened—she was blue in the face and her eyes were rolling to the back of her head.” Vaokakala was recovering as paramedics arrived. Mr. Hacker said after the rescue, “I could feel my heart pounding—it was pure adrenalin. While we do first aid training through McDonald’s, you never really think about what it will be like to put it into action.” Vaokakala’s parents are 18-year-old Glory Mara Tere and 19-year-old Tevita Vave. Mr. Vave said, “We both panicked and were torn on whether to get help from the staff or run to the hospital. Vaokakala is back to normal now and just wants to play.” He added, “It could happen again, but we’ve both been shown what to do if it occurs. We’re just so thankful to all the people who helped—thank you, McDonald’s.” By the way, Australians refer to McDonald’s as Maccas.

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