A 21-year-old McDonald's manager has been hailed a hero after saving the life of a 14-month-old baby girl who had turned blue after choking on a chip.
James Hatcher was working behind the counter in the fast-food restaurant when the the little girl's parents rushed her to him.
"They threw the baby at me, screaming and crying saying 'Save my baby, save my baby','' James said, describing how the child, Vaokakala Tere-Vave, was thrust in his arms.
"I had to put my hands in her mouth to get the food that she was choking on out,'' he said, adding that the toddler was "biting down on my fingers, but I knew it had to come out otherwise, who knows what would have happened".
The little girl - who was 'blue in the face' with 'her eyes rolling to the back of her head' spent a few minutes with the French fry stuck in her throat before James managed to remove it.
"We'd been hitting her back to dislodge it as we'd been taught in first aid training. This went on for a few minutes," he explained.
"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,'' he said.
The baby's mum and dad, Glory Mara Tere, 18, and Tevita Vave, 19, said she was now back to normal, but that they were very grateful to James and the staff in the Sydney suburb of Mount Druitt.
"We both panicked and were torn on whether to get help from the staff or run to the hospital,'' Mr Vave said.
"Vaokakala is back to normal now and just wants to play.''
Medics told Glory and Tevita that Vaokakala had begun fitting because of a fever which had caused her to choke.
"They said she was overheated and symptoms leading up to the fit include hot, pink cheeks, a cough, runny nose and ear infection earlier in the week," her dad said, "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.''
How scary for her mum and dad - and what a hero James is!
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