When Austin Goddard finally got a shift at Skyline Chili, it wasn’t just his bussing skills that would be put to the test. In fact, he was faced with a life-threatening situation, and he found that his ability to respond to a crisis was critical.
Austin is a 16-year-old high school student who lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. He’s in the 11th-grade and, like many kids his age, he has a part-time job. In July 2017, Austin had recently got a paid position at a local restaurant named Skyline Chili.
While the teenager’s usual duties involved collecting dirty dishes, something very different happened during his second shift. In fact, Austin was able to save a customer’s life. In a moment when time was of the essence, Austin saw a potentially deadly situation, and he tackled it head-on.
It was the teen’s mother who had helped him to get the role. Shannon had been working at Skyline Chili for almost a year when the incident occurred. Before getting the job, Austin would accompany his mom to work on Saturday nights and work voluntarily. However, Shannon never dreamed just how proud her son would make her.
In fact, while working his second official shift at the eatery, Austin noticed something unusual. An older customer, who had been fine just seconds before, suddenly keeled over in his chair. Austin quickly realized that the man was in need of help.
“I was bussing a table, just getting the dishes and the silverware and the cups and putting them in the pans where they go,” Austin told WKRC. Then everything changed. “[The man] just collapsed right there where he was eating.” And someone needed to take action.
There was a pause. Someone asked if anyone knew CPR – and Austin knew he had to step up. Hurrying to the man’s aid, Austin began administering CPR in an attempt to resuscitate the 74-year-old.
Despite the situation, the adolescent was able to stay calm as he delivered medical assistance. “I just had [my hands] on his chest and just kept my elbows straight, just doing it with enough force and pressure like you’re supposed to,” the teen explained.
Austin continued to try to revive the customer. “My adrenaline was going and fear wasn’t a factor at that moment,” he told ABC News. But how did the teen know what to do?
Austin and his fellow students at South Ripley High School in Indiana had in fact been taught CPR at school the previous year. Austin remembered the life-saving skills that he had learned and was able to help the man until help arrived. The customer, named Larry, was then carried away by paramedics to a local hospital.
Austin’s mom, however, only learned about what her son had done when her husband sent her a text. “[Austin] was so emotional and shaking and couldn’t speak,” Shannon told ABC News. “I woke up to a message on my cell phone from his dad saying that our son had saved a man’s life.”
Nevertheless, Shannon was stunned at how calm her son had remained throughout the incident. Indeed, many adults would no doubt panic if confronted with a similar situation. “I thought it was amazing,” she told WKRC. “He has a completely different reaction to emergencies than I do. I freeze. A lot of people do, and he goes into action.”
And Shannon was extremely pleased with her son. “I told him how proud of him I was,” she told ABC News. “He’s just your normal 16-year-old but more mature and handles things a lot differently. All in all, he’s an amazing kid.”
While Larry recovered in hospital, his family visited Skyline Chili to let Austin know just how grateful they were for his heroic intervention. Larry, who lives in Florida, had been on a trip to Ohio for a wedding when he took ill at the restaurant. And he had a special message for the young man who saved his life.
It was a photo of Larry with a tray of chili in front of him, inscribed with the message, “Thank you Austin. You saved my life.” But Austin wants people to know that he’s not the only good kid on the streets of Cincinnati.
Indeed, the teenager told WKRC, “There are still good kids out there. There are still kids that are not out there robbing and shooting people and killing people. I’m just glad I was able to save a life instead of taking a life.” And his bravery has not gone unnoticed by Skyline Chili’s management.
“We are just so proud of Austin for taking care of our customer,” Sarah Sicking, Skyline Chili’s director of marketing, told ABC News. “He took [it] above and beyond and saved a man’s life. It takes a lot of courage, and it was only his second day of work.”
In order to honor their heroic employee, Skyline Chili presented Austin with a plaque commemorating his good deed. Alongside a picture of the presentation on their Instagram page, the company wrote, “Today, we recognized Austin for going above and beyond for a Skyline Chili customer at our Kenwood location. We’re thankful to have such great employees like him!”
The brand’s followers subsequently left congratulatory messages for Austin. “You da man!” one user wrote, while another said that they were happy to see that hard work pays off. So what’s next for the high school student?
As well as wishing good health to Larry, Austin explained to ABC News that he would renew his CPR certification in order to keep his skills fresh. That way, if a similar situation ever arose again, he would be prepared and ready.