Waiter, 16, praised after saving young girl from choking

A 16-year-old waiter has been praised after he came to the rescue of a young girl, saving her from choking on his second day in full-time work.

Jack Smithson, from Doncaster, was working at the Jazz Cafe on Printing Office Street when he heard panicked screaming from the girl’s grandmother.

The former sea cadet quickly sprang into action, performing the Heimlich manoeuvre, which involves standing behind the person and pushing the bottom of the diaphragm to force food out of the airway, saving the girl’s life in the process.

Jack told the PA news agency: “I heard screaming and I ran around the corner. The grandma had her fingers down the girl’s throat.

Jack Smithson (Gemma Miall-Smithson)
Jack Smithson (Gemma Miall-Smithson)

“I am first aid trained and I knew that she shouldn’t put fingers down her throat because it could push it further down and cause it to be even worse.

“I knew instantly I needed to get it out of her throat, so I just grabbed the little girl and started using the Heimlich manoeuvre.

“Luckily on about the fourth attempt, she managed to cough it out.

“It was quite stressful and panicky, but in the end she was alright.”

Jack, who begins college in September and hopes to become a forensic psychologist, said he was “extremely happy” that the girl, believed to be around seven years old, was OK.

He was later named employee of the month by the cafe, and rewarded with a £25 Amazon gift card.

Our May employee of the month! Meet Jack, the well deserved winner of a £25 Amazon voucher 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻He has literally saved a young girls life on shift this month! Well done you are an asset to our team 🖤

Posted by Jazz Cafe Doncaster on Thursday, June 3, 2021

Cafe owner Sarah Pinkerton said: “Thank goodness he was there. A few of us are first aid trained, but you just don’t know how you will react in an emergency situation, but for him to act as calmly and coolly as he did, it was incredible.

“We are just so proud of him.

“He is just such a lovely 16-year-old boy, he works very hard, is very decent and has a lovely attitude towards our guests and a great work ethic, and then that to boot. He is just an all-around good guy.”

Jack’s mother Gemma Miall-Smithson said she is “incredibly proud” of her son.

She told PA: “He has used his transferable skills from Doncaster Sea Cadets, which he was a part of from the age of 10 to 15 years old – without learning this, the situation may have been a lot different.

“It’s his first job since leaving school and to be faced with this situation must have been very scary.

“He should be so proud of what he has achieved, and I am proud as punch for his heroic actions.”