Hometown hero saves choking woman in Burger King

By on May 15, 2019


On April 11, Dakota Boll had no idea that when he clocked in for his shift at the Ephrata Burger King, he would save a life that day.

Boll, a 2016 Ephrata High School graduate, has worked at Burger King for a year as a dining room host.
During his April 11 shift, a customer ran to get Boll’s attention to tell him that a woman was choking in the dining area. Boll followed the customer to where the choking woman was standing, observed by the other customers, but without aid.

Boll asked for permission to touch her, and after receiving approval, he began the Heimlich maneuver.
“I’ve had no training on doing the Heimlich,” Boll said. “I just did what I’ve seen someone do on TV. I thought I might as well try. Someone had to do something.”

After a few moments, Boll was able to dislodge the obstruction in the woman’s windpipe, and she began breathing again.

“I made sure she was okay,” Boll said. “The other customers were talking with her.” Boll stepped into the back of the restaurant for a minute, and when he emerged, the woman was gone.

“It’s always better to try, rather than to stand and watch,” he said, remembering how busy the dining area was, yet no one had come to the woman’s aid.

“Even if you’re not trained, you might as well go for it,” he said. “Do anything you can, to help your fellow person.”

This experience has made Boll passionate about seeing people trained in CPR so they can be prepared for any crisis.

“Even if you don’t work in food service, get trained in CPR,” Boll encouraged. “After that (experience), I want to be trained in CPR in case there’s another emergency. I think everyone should be trained.”

“I am so incredibly proud of Dakota and his instinct to go above and beyond by jumping into action and ultimately saving this customer from choking,” Gregory Winans, vice president of US Restaurants Inc., commented. “We are extremely grateful to have Dakota as a part of our team here, he is an extraordinary young man, and a wonderful example to all.”

Burger King in Ephrata wished to further recognize Boll, so they bought a cake, a FitBit, and a $50 giftcard to thank him for his quick, life-saving actions.

“I just did what anyone else would have done,” said Boll. “I’m just glad she was okay.”

Aubree Fahringer is the Cocalico editor for The Ephrata Review. 

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