Quick-Thinking Stranger Saves Baby at Golden Corral on Thanksgiving

RachelKiser_200TallRachel Kiser
Blogger | Mom of Two


It’s stories like this that simultaneously make us break a sweat, but also make us incredibly grateful for the capabilities and kindness of strangers.

7-month-old Calli Jarvis was eating Thanksgiving dinner with her family at a North Carolina Golden Corral when the unthinkable happened: she began choking on mashed potatoes.

Her mother, Hannah, went into a frenzy, trying anything she could to dislodge the food. According to her, a woman named Debra flew into action when she saw Calli choking.

“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. Then, Debra intervened and did the Heimlich maneuver properly. We were all in a panic.”

In a Facebook post that is quickly being shared all around the internet, Hannah writes,

“If anyone knows who Debra 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. 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 perform 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.”

To make the story even better, the post eventually made its way to the one and only Debra Rouse, the family’s hero. She wrote in the comments section, “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.”

Hannah says she and Debra have talked regularly since the fateful evening, even meeting up in Asheville to see one another face to face and have their families meet. “I’m just so thankful for God sending Debra that day!” she shares.

Let’s remember, time and time again, that we all belong to one another, and it’s our job to help in any situation we can. We are grateful that this story has a happy ending, and that beautiful new friendships blossomed out of a scary moment!


RachelKiser_200TallAbout Rachel Kiser

Rachel is a wife and mother living in Raleigh, North Carolina. She’s a fan of good coffee, wearer of gray t-shirts, and is constantly starting books she will never finish. Her family is her joy, and she loves to engage with other moms and dads on matters of parenting. Her blog posts have also been featured on the Today Show Parenting Blog and Scary Mommy.

View all posts by Rachel Kiser here.

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