Choking on McDonald’s

Sydney Raley, a 15-year old McDonald’s employee, noticed a customer in the drive-thru lane choking on a chicken nugget.

Most teens I know would start screaming, pointing, or not even notice at all…

Sydney is not most teens.

Without hesitation, she leaped through the drive-thru window, opened the car door, instructed the victim’s daughter to call 911, and began administering the Heimlich maneuver she had learned when she was 11-years old for babysitter training.  Story and Video HERE.

As other employees rushed out to assist, the chicken nugget was dislodged, a life saved, and the fast acting teen became an instant hero in Eden Prairie, MN.

This is how Legendary Leaders are made: Quick action, prepared, ready when the need arises.

Yes – this is the Ultimate Customer Service story as well!

The police involved handed her $100 from a fund they utilize where public service is rendered, and the parents of Sydney just shook their heads in amazement by her quick and selfless act to help someone in need.

Every human on earth has a Signature Move, if not many, that make them a Superhero walking among us.  It’s not just Superman who wears a cape, leaps buildings in a single bound, and helps those in need…

Sydney Raley has now identified one of her Superhero powers and Signature Moves that, as she says, “I now feel as though I’m capable of contributing to society, and making a difference.”

Yes Sydney, you are.

The Promise is in the sharing of the Signature Moves that we have.  If we don’t share them, we are cheating the world – the same as if Superman just sat back and watched the whole world crash and burn when he knew he could do something to change that.

Not only does Sydney have the intuition and sympathy to leap through a window and save a stranger, but has the memory to recall her training from years prior, and performed it perfectly when it was needed most, as well as being a unique teen among the many who may not have acted.

This is The Promise. 

Whether she knows it or not, most likely never making a conscious “promise” to do something if an emergency happened, she intuitively kept an unspoken Promise in a moment she realized she knew what to do, how to serve, and could help.

Sydney also has one more fact revealed in this story: she is on the autism spectrum, which means she has challenges in some realms of life, and superpowers in others – and yes, she was able to utilize her innate gifts when it was necessary for the life of another to survive.  Not a “disability”, but another level of capability, and essential to our society’s survival as she leans into what makes her amazing.

The Promise is to share our Signature Moves.  To serve, help, assist and gift that which we can is a major part of our Promise in life.

I love the story of Sydney Raley, the Superhero she has become, the legendary leader, and the new line that says:

“Eden Prairie, MN McDonald’s: Billions served, and 1 Life Saved.”


DISCLAIMER: Due to the amount of private messages I’m about to receive due to this post I’ll cut you off at the pass.  Before you send me information about how unhealthy these nuggets are, that they’re not made of actual chicken, that people shouldn’t go to this eating establishment, etc, I know we can look at the comical side of a McDonald’s story all day…just ask Jim Gaffigan (and enjoy his brilliance in the video below).



What I’d rather you consider from this post is the following: 

When was the last time you kept The Promise and leapt into action because you absolutely knew you could help, without being asked, prodded or encouraged?  You just ACTED.

Please share in the comments and Thank You for being You.

~ Jason Hewlett 

Husband, Father, Writer, Hiker, Coach

  • Speaker Hall of Fame * Award-Winning Entertainer * Promise Legacy Coach
  • World’s First & Only Keynote Speaker utilizing entertainment, musical impressions, and comedy to teach the Power of Keeping Your Promise
  • Author of “The Promise To The One”


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4 thoughts on “Choking on McDonald’s”

  1. Once again, you are keeping your promise by spreading the word that we can all make the world a better place. Thank you for sharing this remarkable story.

  2. I am so happy to read the awesome stories you share each week Jason! What a selfless act and I am trying to keep some promises this year by doing more volunteer work specifically making 3 quilts for graduating seniors in our county who are in Foster Care and will age out of the program and we want them to know they are not alone in this world and at least 1 person cares about them .

    Have a blessed week!
    Suzanne King

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