‘Did that just happen?’ NC nursing student saves Olive Garden worker from choking

·2 min read

A North Carolina nursing student went to Olive Garden and was served a life-saving experience.

Madeline Hare was out to lunch at an Olive Garden in Gastonia on July 22 with Gaston College classmates and their instructor, Joyce Floyd, to celebrate the end of their two-month clinical rotation at a local senior citizens center, according to the college.

About 45 minutes into lunch, a panicked restaurant employee ran to the nursing students’ table because a kitchen worker was choking and unable to breathe.

Floyd followed the employee into the kitchen, administered the Heimlich maneuver on the choking worker and told restaurant staff to call 911.

Because the employee was larger than Floyd, she could not dislodge the food. So Floyd called out to the taller Hare.

Joyce Floyd and Madeline Hare of Gaston College
Joyce Floyd and Madeline Hare of Gaston College

This was the first time Hare had attempted the Heimlich maneuver. With Floyd’s instruction, Hare stepped behind the employee and dislodged the blockage on the fifth thrust.

“During the procedure the adrenaline took over and I don’t even remember thinking — I was just doing,” Hare said in a news release from the school. “After the procedure, I thought, ‘Did that just happen? My family will never believe this!’”

According to Hare, it is because of her family that she was in this situation. When she was in high school, Hare served as caretaker after her sister underwent a difficult surgery. Hare helped her through recovery — and found her passion for taking care of others.

Hare will graduate as a Licensed Practical Nurse on Tuesday. She plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She’s a certified nursing assistant at CaroMont Regional Medical Center, and hopes to work as a labor and delivery nurse.

Hare says that helping people has been her goal for years. And after her Olive Garden experience, it appears she’s well on her way.