Allen Cheer, a 59-year-old Joliet resident, is thankful for his life after a Wendy’s employee came to his rescue Friday.
Cheer went to get some chili for lunch at Wendy’s, located at 940 Brook Forest Ave. in Shorewood, when something went wrong about 12:05 p.m. As he was eating, a chili bean became lodged in his esophagus, preventing him from breathing.
Alyson Mayfield, general manager of the Wendy’s, heard his coughs near a garbage can.
“I just kind of went over there, and I glanced around and I saw it’s my regular Allen,” Mayfield said.
She asked Cheer if he was all right and he shook his head no.
“He’s trying to get out the words, ‘I’m choking,’” Mayfield said. “His face kept getting redder and redder.”
She asked him if she could perform the Heimlich maneuver.
“She came over right away. I was going to throw up my food,” Cheer said. “I could’ve died today if she wasn’t on the call of duty.”
Mayfield did the Heimlich maneuver on him four times before dislodging the chili bean.
“Allen’s a big guy,” Mayfield said. “I worked up a sweat on Allen.”
Mayfield used Heimlich maneuver skills she learned at her previous job as a lifeguard.
“I was like, oh my gosh, I’m not going to let anybody hit the floor in my store,” she said.
Mayfield’s son, Dakota Norris, is a Wendy’s employee and witnessed everything.
“It surprised me. ... I wasn’t expecting her to take action immediately,” Norris said. “My mom saved my life when I was a kid.”
Since the incident, Cheer said he called Wendy’s corporate office multiple times to get Mayfield a new car or gift certificate.
From now on, Cheer said he’s going to slow down when he eats.
“She was my guardian angel,” he said. “I was in the right place at the right time today.”