Panda Express worker deemed hero for saving choking child

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BATON ROUGE – Rasheedah Riley has been working at Panda Express off of College Drive for the past 8 months. She had never seen what she witnessed Thursday afternoon.

“I didn't have a chance to think. It happened so fast,” said Riley.

Jennifer Bacorn and her son, Dylan, went to the restaurant for lunch and tried a new kind of shrimp. Seconds later Jennifer realized something was wrong.

“I said Dylan are you okay? Are you okay? I lifted his forehead and looked at him again and this time his lips were turning purple. I said, ‘oh my god he’s choking,” said Bacorn.

The mom is CPR certified. She said she tried the Heimlich maneuver, but it wasn't working.

“I yelled help me my son is choking, and this lady came from over the counter,” said Bacorn.

That lady was Riley. Riley ran to Dylan, flipped him onto his stomach and removed food lodged in his throat.

“I guess it was my parental instinct that kicked in,” said Riley. “I have two kids too and my son is just like [Dylan].”

Bacorn is crediting Riley’s gut reaction and quick response to saving Dylan.

“I just know that I just almost lost my son and if she wouldn't have been here, he wouldn't be alive,” said Bacorn. "She's 100 percent our hero."

Leaving the restaurant, Bacorn was able to express her gratitude to Riley.

“I'm so glad you were working today,” she said. “The outcome could have been so different otherwise.”


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