Sonny's BBQ waitress saves choking toddler

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A family dinner turned into a parent’s worst nightmare Friday evening at Sonny’s BBQ in Lake City.

“My 1 year old was eating what he normally eats,” said Carissa Green, mother of a baby named Rhythm. “French fries, garlic bread and corn.”

The Green family noticed their little baby Rhythm turning blue across the table.

“My brother-in-law said something was wrong with Rhythm,” Carissa said. “So I looked at him and his face was turning purple and my immediate thought was oh he’s choking.”

Rhythm had a fever that threw him into an absence seizure with a french fry in the back of his throat.

“People were taking my kid from me and taking turns and no one was helping,” Carissa said. “I’m feeling completely helpless.”

The restaurant crowded the table, passing Rhythm around like a doll. No one knew how to help a choking baby.

“I was in hysterics and so was my husband,” Carissa said. “There was a bunch of screaming happening and that’s when Shayla starting running as fast as she could over to us.”

Shayla Sullivan is a waitress at Sonny’s who was working the drive-thru window when she heard the screaming across the restaurant. She ran in to help.

“I saw a lady was trying to give him the heimlich,” Shayla said. “My manager said no, she knows how to do it. I grabbed him and I immediately put him facedown on my arm and started giving him back blows.”

Every one of Shayla’s blows brought Rhythm closer to life as she could see the french fry make its way out.

“As soon as he started suctioning little breathes, I was still frantic, but he’s alive,” Carissa said. “I’ve never felt so relieved or grateful to a human being in my entire life that my child was alive.”

Rhythm was tired and limp when the ambulance arrived—but alive.

“When he started crying, that was the best sound I’ve ever heard,” Shayla said. “I’m like, I love this baby crying right now. Thank God.”

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