Few things in life are as terrifying as dealing with an emergency situation involving one of your children. You hope that you'll know exactly what to do — and be able to remain calm — if your child is ever seriously injured, choking, or stops breathing. But unless it actually happens, it's hard to say for sure how you'd handle it. And honestly, this story of this stranger saving a choking baby at Golden Corral will restore your faith in humanity.
A North Carolina mom named Hannah Jarvis was eating Thanksgiving dinner with her family at Golden Corral, when her 7-month old daughter, Calli, started choking on mashed potatoes. "I immediately jerked my daughter out of her high chair and started pounding on her back, but I wasn't doing it right and so I started to panic," Hannah told PopSugar "My mother started to do the same as I was doing: holding her upside down, smacking her back."
Jarvis credits the quick actions of a stranger named Debra Rouse for saving her daughter's life. “I just jumped up, snatched the baby out of their arms, and started doing the Heimlich maneuver, where you tilt the baby down and also use the ball of your hand to slap the baby's back,” Rouse told Inside Edition. "They kept yelling that she wasn't breathing. So I continued. A few slaps on the back and I held her up and I felt her chest moving in and out. So she was breathing again." Rouse explained that she works at an ophthalmologist's office and learned this technique from a class. (And she did it correctly, by the way. Check out this step-by-step guide detailing what to do if your baby is choking, according to BabyCenter.)
Following the scary incident, the grateful mother shared a photo of Calli and Rouse on Facebook — thanking her for her heroic actions that day. "If anyone knows who Deborah Rouse is, this lady is a hero! If it weren't for this angel, my daughter probably would have been wheeled away in an ambulance today," Jarvis wrote. "Thank you for saving my daughter's life and thank you Trish from Golden Corral who helped intervene as well! My family and I can't thank you enough for helping. My daughter is fine and has been seen at the ER and is perfectly happy and healthy now."
I will never forget the many tears that were shed today in Golden Corral as this angel stepped in to preform the heimlich maneuver that saved my baby from choking to death. Most importantly, thank you Jesus for hearing our desperate cries for Calli this Thanksgiving afternoon. Christ was with us today❤ Christ made sure that he was going to protect my baby today and that's just what he did🙏
Facebook was quick to sing the praises of this brave stranger who leapt into action. One Facebook user wrote, "This woman is a true hero. So many people just stand back and watch. Deborah Rouse sprung into action and saved a life. Definition of a hero!"
Another person commented, "Thank you Deborah for stepping in to save this little girl. As a parent we never want our children in danger. To know there are loving caring people to step and help is comforting. God Bless you for saving her and God Bless the little girl!"
Rouse herself even caught wind of the post and responded in the comments section, writing, "Good evening Mrs. Hannah, I saw the news article and I messaged you my number! I’m elated that Callie is doing well, y’all have been on my mind since yesterday! Love you all and take care ❤️❤️❤️."
Some of the most heart-pounding moments in my life have been when my young children (two out of three) started choking. Both times it happened, I was alone with them at home. Luckily, I knew what to do and was able to dislodge the pieces of food. But, it was terrifying.
This brave stranger was in the right place at the right time. Because she wasn't afraid to take action, a baby girl is still alive today. And I'm sure neither Jarvis nor Rouse will ever forget this scary experience that, thankfully, had a happy ending.
This first-time mom wants to have a home birth, but is she ready? Watch how a doula supports a military mom who's determined to have a home birth in Episode One of Romper's Doula Diaries, Season Two, below. Visit Bustle Digital Group's YouTube page for the next three episodes, launching every Monday starting November 26.