Teen Restaurant Employee Saves Toddler’s Life

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A Bristol, Tennessee, teen is being praised after she has saved a toddler’s life. This is all thanks to her quick thinking while on the job at Pal’s Sudden Service on Volunteer Parkway.

The average ambulance anywhere can take from three to five minutes to arrive at the scene of a medical emergency, however thanks to a school CPR class, Kaela Eads saved a life in a matter of seconds.

The 18-year-old said the day of the incident was just a normal day at the fast-food restaurant, which is known across the Mountain Empire for serving sweet tea, cheeseburgers, hot dogs and fries.

It was the end of my shift and I was getting ready to head home for the night,” Eads said “We were looking out the drive-through window and saw a woman pulling up to the back dumpsters.”

It was raining extremely hard and Eads said the woman started frantically running toward the window with a small child in her arms.

“We opened the window and she kept saying ‘Somebody please come help me, my son is not breathing,’” Eads said. “She then asked us if anyone knew CPR and I took off running outside.”

Eads’ instincts and confidence then kicked in. The CPR training she received in an elective class helped her save the young boy’s life.

“Tennessee High School offers a health science class and my guidance counselor told me that it was a good class, so I signed up for it and really enjoyed it,” Eads said. “Part of the class was doing CPR training and I always thought — I work at Pal’s — when am I going to need to use CPR?” 

The teen quickly put the toddler on the ground and started doing CPR until paramedics arrived and rushed the child to the hospital.

“When I first got on the ground, I checked to see if he was breathing and I saw that blank stare in his eyes,” Eads said. “He would take some breaths and then stop — it all happened so fast, too.”

Other employees and the boy’s mother stayed near the boy while Eads continued to check for vitals and perform chest compressions, everyone hoping for a miracle.

Then after about two minutes, the compressions became tighter, Eads said. “I could tell that there were some faint breaths and out of the corner of my eye, I saw the ambulance in the parking lot.” 

Darrell Mears, a paramedic with Bristol Tennessee Fire Department, was one of the first on the scene. He stated that the CPR administered by Eads saved the boy’s life.

Mears said “Early recognition is so important during a medical emergency. If you don’t start doing compressions within six minutes, the brain can start to die because it needs oxygen.”

Mears also said that the chances of survival increase if correct CPR is performed by someone who is trained in what to look out for and how to properly perform it.

You can’t just have someone pushing on the chest,” Mears said. “Receiving CPR training that is taught through a licensed professional or the American Red Cross is so very important as well.”

For Eads, she simply relied on her training, faith and gut instinct.

It was definitely an adrenaline rush,” Eads said.

“I had only performed CPR on a dummy and this was a real child. I said to myself that I was going to try and get him the help he needed because I didn’t want to have to come face to face with the inevitable that he could pass away.”

Eads finished her shift, and only really had time to think about everything that happened in a short amount of time, once she got home.

“I really wanted to know how the boy was doing and the only way that I would ever know was to just go out to the hospital and check,” Eads said. “I went to the hospital on Wednesday, not knowing his name or anything, but the front desk was able to find the family and they agreed to let me visit. The boy was doing OK and the entire family was so very thankful for everything.”



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