Patrick Kissane was in line at Subway when he heard the terrified calls for help coming from another customer. On instinct, he followed the noise of the panicked woman, ditching his place at the sandwich bar. And when he saw the small boy in distress and clearly struggling to breathe, his instincts kicked in.
Mom Mary Graham was frantic as she tried to get her two-year-old son out of his stroller. However, her desperate pleas for help sparked Kissane’s quick response. And she later described his actions as heroic.
This good citizen became known as a local hero after he helped the family in distress. And what he did to help little Noah made national news, too. Indeed, Graham said she will be forever grateful for the quick actions that fateful day.
Ultimately, Kissane’s care and compassion saved Noah’s life. Because upon seeing the two-year-old struggling in the restaurant, Kissane quickly realized that something was stuck in his throat. And he realized, too, that if he didn’t act fast, there might have been fatal consequences. Little Noah was choking on a Dorito.
Kissane, from St John, Indiana, had only been in the shop for mere moments before the emergency scenario unfolded. Mom had been enjoying a quick meal with her son inside the fast food chain in Alsip, Illinois. However, all of a sudden her little boy got into trouble eating the potato chip snack. And it was terrifying to watch; Graham later recalled seeing her son turn blue as he started choking violently.
Removing the young boy from his stroller, Kissane patted him on his back and used a first aid move to dislodge the Dorito causing the pain. It was a race against the clock as the boy was struggling for air. But removing the potato chip freed the airway. And a relieved Graham watched her son begin to breathe normally and return to his former self.
Following these adrenaline-filled few seconds, Noah and Graham visited the wash rooms. Dislodging the potato chip had caused the young boy to vomit, and so his mom needed to clean him up. But to her despair, the hero of the hour had already left the food shop by the time they were finished and she was unable to express her gratitude.
And to make matters worse, Graham quickly realized that she didn’t even know the name of the gentleman who had saved her son. She told The Times of Northwest Indiana, “I thought about if he wasn’t there I wouldn’t be taking that walk home or kissing my son tonight. I’d be in the hospital – or worse, I thought I owed him more than I gave him.” So, desperate to reconnect with the mystery man whose quick thinking had avoided a tragedy, she took to the internet.
Using social media, Graham composed a heartfelt thank you message and appealed to find her Good Samaritan. She only had a description of the man to work with, so she knew the chances of finding him were slim. Nevertheless, she uploaded a post about her son’s near-death experience and launched a web-wide search.
Incredibly, within days the news had spread throughout their village of Alsip, Illinois and beyond. And eventually, it reached their missing hero through a television appeal. Because while Kissane was enjoying a family birthday party, his father was watching a short clip of the incident on TV. And after linking the story to his son, the party’s attention soon turned to the news story.
To his shock, 27-year-old Kissane was suddenly watching CCTV footage of himself rushing to the youngster’s aid. And after a friend called into the television station to disclose his identity, a date for a reunion was hastily set. In fact, just 24 hours later the trio were back at the sandwich shop to celebrate his quick thinking.
During their meeting, Graham revealed that it took just minutes for her to become overwhelmed by what might have happened to her son without help. Choking is a big hazard for toddlers, with numerous parenting sources providing guidance on how to avoid a potentially fatal incident. Tips like cutting up grapes and awkwardly shaped foods into small chunks have been provided in a bid to reduce the risk.
In particular, food poses a great risk for children under the age of four because they are still developing their ability to swallow. And despite having a keen wish to explore the world around them, the choking risks reveal themselves in many everyday items. According to medical professionals, then, parents should encourage slow eating and always pay close attention at meal times.
During the emotional reunion, both adults relived the traumatic moment and shared how it had affected them. Kissane explained that while he had acted on instinct he had learned some essential life-saving tips from his dad, a physical therapist. Graham, meanwhile, revealed that she had since been inspired to learn first aid herself.
But aside from chatting and smiling for pictures, Graham and husband Benson also wanted to do something else to show their gratitude. So they decided to give Kissane a memento that he could keep forever from their family. They presented the shocked Samaritan with an engraved plaque and photo of Noah.
The plaque read, “I smile on because you cared. Thank you for being my guardian angel.” And the modest man has since revealed that the plaque has become a source of comfort for him. “I mean it means a lot to me,” Kissane told CBS Chicago. “If I’m ever feeling down, I can take a look at that and it’ll definitely bring me right back up.”
However, the reunion could not have happened without the swift response from social media. The story of the heroic stranger captured the imagination of members of the public. And it was because of Graham’s passionate plea that the story reached him in just three days.
Despite living in Indiana, the power of the internet meant that Kissane heard about the family’s wish to meet him. As for the quick-thinking hero, he even refused the couple’s offer to pay his dry-cleaning bill. Instead, he told them he was just happy to provide support to the toddler in need.
But the Graham family were still keen to make their feelings felt, and so they also gave Mr. Kissane a Subway gift voucher for – appropriately – Subway. It did not seem the incident had put him off visiting the shop. Graham told The Times of Northwest Indiana, “He didn’t run into a burning building, but he stepped up, and that to me is being a hero.”
And judging by the reaction online, the story of the little boy and the quick-thinking stranger has restored many people’s faith in humanity. Moreover, as Noah grows, his family are sure to remind him of that day inside Subway when he was saved by a hero.