Diners Step In To Save An Unconscious Choked Baby

It was a busy, typical day in a restaurant when suddenly, the diners paused and had the biggest fear of their lives. A choked baby was already unconscious and blue until the diners, one by one, stepped in to save him.


Jon and Jayne Koehler were with their three kids in a South Carolina restaurant, when their 10-month-old baby, Gabriel, choked on a piece of pancake. “We kind of hit him on the back thought okay, he’s got this, he’s gonna get it down,” Jayne said. But it was not as simple as it looked. “He was turning blue, and it happened really fast. You can see in the video where I turn him over. And at that point, he looked really bad. I thought, ‘Okay, this is not good,’ and that’s when I yelled for help,” Jayne narrated in an Inside Edition interview.

The diners in front of their table were horrified as they witnessed the scary ordeal. The people started to come to their table one by one, obviously trying to help. Gabriel was already unconscious, he was blue from head to toe, limp, and his eyes were also rolled back. “I thought that he was gonna die,” Gabriel’s mom recalled.

Everyone flocked into their table and Jayne shouted, “Someone call 911”. The look of worry could be seen on the faces of the other diners. They came to their table not only to offer assistance but also to show support to the distraught parents. Heimlich maneuver, unfortunately, did not also work.

Out of nowhere, a concerned diner went out of the restaurant to retrieve a lifesaving device called Lifevac from his car. He asked Jayne to put the baby on the table. “Trust me like the last help,” this concerned diner said to her. Major Hillard used Lifevac, a portable airway-clearing device. He placed the device on top of his mouth, pushed and pulled the device to suck the air and obstruction inside. After a few attempts, the baby was able to breathe again. “As soon as I did that last pull, his eyes popped open, and he started gasping for air,” Hillard said.

While all of these were happening, the other diners also did their part. They were not able to save baby Gabriel but they were beside the Koehler couple throughout to offer support and comfort. A family crisis became everyone’s crisis. A big thanks to everyone who generously offered help to the worried parents. It’s not a coincidence that all of them were at that restaurant at the right time. Hillard has not used his Lifevac device even once for the last five years, but it surely served its purpose this time.

Nothing can be more beautiful than seeing people working together. Each has a role to play especially in an emergency like this. For sure, the Koehler family appreciated the love and concern every person offered at a time when they needed it the most.

“Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.” 1 Corinthians 12:14

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