Leominster waitress credited with saving choking boy’s life

Leominster waitress credited with saving choking boy's life

LEOMINSTER, Mass. — A waitress who jumped into action when she saw a boy choking Thursday morning is being credited with saving the teen’s life.

Thirteen-year-old Benjamin Wood was eating breakfast at North End Diner in Leominster when he began to choke.

Benjamin, who had recently gotten braces on his teeth, had back bumpers put on, which made it difficult to chew. Just a couple bites in, and a large piece of his French toast became lodged in his throat.

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“I felt it get stuck. So I went to take a sip of water, and immediately the water didn’t go down,” Benjamin told Boston 25 News Monday. “It was really chaotic, so I don’t remember too much, just bits and pieces.”

Benjamin’s mother, Ashton Caissie, began to panic and yelled for help.

“I know that at one point, I started to cry. He started to lose color. So I knew that he was obviously really choking,” Caissie said. “I think I screamed, ‘He’s choking! He’s choking!’”

Waitress Kate Creed, who was taking an order at another table, rushed to Benjamin’s side.

“It felt like everything was happening in slow motion but so fast at the same time,” Creed said. “I barely remember it happening, honestly. I just ran over there as fast as I could and couldn’t even think about it; I just started doing the Heimlich [maneuver].”

It took several attempts and a call for additional help from workers in the kitchen. But before help could arrive, Kate, who had never been trained in the Heimlich maneuver, had successfully dislodged the food.

“It was like pure chaos. I was shaking. He was shaking,” Creed said. “We both looked at each other, and I was just rubbing his back to calm him down. And it was so good to just see him take that breath.”

Benjamin’s nine-year-old brother Parker had been clutching his mother, scared.

“I just thought that maybe he wasn’t going to be okay, and that he might have just died,” Parker said. “And then I was very thankful for the waitress that jumped in.”

Benjamin and his mom are grateful, too.

“I’m just very appreciative that she was there,” Benjamin said. “I don’t know what would have happened if she wasn’t there to help me.”

“Kate, thank you so much for saving my son. We love you. We’ll be forever thankful for Kate,” an emotional Caissie added. “She was definitely a god-send to us that day.”

While Creed appreciates the family’s kind words, she is modest about her efforts.

“She sent me a big thank-you, and that was really nice to hear,” Creed said of Caissie’s post on Facebook. “Kind of surreal, honestly. I never would’ve expected that to happen, but I’m glad it turned out the way it did.”