My Son-in-law is a Hero
Heroes surround us. Some heroes are famous. We celebrate their exploits with much fanfare. But often we stand next to a hero, unaware. We don’t always recognize greatness. But I need to share an event with you. My son-in-law, Christopher Robart, who lives in Tulalip/Marysville in Washington , last week saved the life of a little boy.
Chris was in McDonald’s with his daughter, my granddaughter, Toni, now five. Chris prepared to chomp into a Big Mac while Toni explored her toy from the Happy Meal, when he heard a commotion in the play room. A little boy had a piece of food lodged in his throat and could not breathe. The boy’s father was frantic, verging on hysterics, the kind of panic that leads to paralysis.
Chris rushed into the play area and with eye contact alone received permission from the father to take over. He lifted the child, who was about four years old, and applied the Heimlich maneuver, which dislodged the chunk of food. But the boy, limp in Chris’s arms, still did not breathe. Chris lowered the child to the floor and administered CPR.
Meanwhile, a woman came forth to take Toni in hand and reassure her. She let Chris know that she would keep Toni safe. Again, this was spoken with the eyes. Chris heard the kind, perceptive woman assure Toni that her Dad was working and that all would be well. At the same time a store employee called the emergency ambulance crew. Another person took the father in hand and calmed him. Chris said it seemed like everything happened in the same instant.
Chris continued CPR. By the time the ambulance crew arrived, the little boy had begun breathing. The crew took over, administered oxygen and loaded the boy onto a gurney and into the ambulance. With his dad at his side, they rushed the boy to the hospital for a check up.
Once the ambulance crew had taken charge, Chris, still on the floor, rolled over onto his side and sobbed. Toni squirmed away from the woman, squatted next to her father and patted his shoulder, comforting him until he was able to get up. Chris said that it was one of the most emotional experiences of his life.
People in the restaurant surrounded Chris, offered congratulations, shook his hand, and thanked him for stepping forward, for his quick response. He, in turn, thanked the un-named woman who had held Toni and kept her calm.
I’m grateful Chris was there that day in McDonald’s, ordering burgers and watching Toni play. It was an ordinary day. Chris is an ordinary guy. Today a little boy is laughing and playing and being all a four-year old child can be. Chris is a hero.
HDN: Looking out my back door
March 24, 2011