New mum's special message to retiring Asda colleague who saved her life as a baby

September 10, 2020

Our much-loved Blantyre colleague George Barclay saved the life of Jodie McLlaughlan when she was a baby – and now as he retires after 39 years at the store and she celebrates the safe arrival of a baby of her own she's sent a special message to wish him all the best, saying: "I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for George."

Security colleague George came to the rescue 26 years ago when Jodie had a convulsion and swallowed her tongue which caused her to stop breathing.

Sixty-year-old George says he can remember it as if was yesterday.

He said: "I was actually on holiday from work and just got back from Benidorm with my mum and popped to the store to pick up some groceries. I was in the car park approaching the store when this girl ran towards me and was shouting and crying that a child had stopped breathing.

"When I got to Jodie she was actually blue. I was a first aider so I noticed that she'd swallowed her tongue. I managed to get it free, then gave her the kiss of life, massaged her chest and managed to get her breathing again. It took a little while, but after a couple of minutes she started crying. I was so overjoyed that she was okay. I just took everything in my stride as adrenaline kicked in. I didn't panic – I just got on with it.

"A few years ago when Jodie turned 18, she came into the store with her family and presented me with a pen and a card as a thank you."

Twenty-seven year old Jodie, who gave birth to her son Travis two weeks ago, said: "If it wasn't for George's actions that day my future could have been very different. He saved my life.

"Although I don't remember any of it, my dad, Willie Kerr, said I was with my sister in law Anne at the time. It was winter and I'd been wearing a snow suit and overheated. George was very calm and got Anne to strip me to my nappy and he put a fan on me too to reduce my temperature while the ambulance arrived. The hospital said it was George's quick thinking that had helped me.

"George has been at the store for a long time and you always see him when you go in. He's always there and I wave to him. I'd like to wish him all the best in his retirement."

George, who lives a ten-minute walk from the store, says he's loved his time with Asda and will really miss working there.

He said: "I've loved working at Asda Blantyre. It's been my life for nearly 40 years. I've a great relationship with customers and colleagues. I've always had the opinion of if you treat people right they will treat you right.

"I've done most things in the store. I started out as a porter, then a greeter. I've been on checkouts and in the warehouse too and for the last 12 years I've been a security colleague. Everyone in Blantyre knows me and I know them."

George will spend his retirement helping out with his beloved Glasgow Tigers Speedway team and hopes to go travelling – probably to Las Vegas where he's been 34 times since 2001!

He said: "I just love Las Vegas. I've a lot of friends out there and I know a lot of people in the entertainment business. I normally go there about twice a year. I don't gamble that much – it's just the buzz of the place that I love. When I was a kid I used to go and see the shows at Blackpool and I love going to see them in Vegas. My best ever show, believe it or not, was Celine Dione, then Bette Midler – she was amazing!

"I just want to enjoy my retirement. My dad died when he was 60 so I want to go and live my life."

The store's deputy manager Ian Miller said: "George is very, very popular with colleagues. He would always tell you a story – and he has lots to tell. He worked at Blantyre all the way through his career.

"He started on front-end when he first started and was a store greeter and then a security colleague. Customers here are all very fond of George. On his last shift everyone was coming up to him and saying all the best. He's a very popular character. I'm really sad to see him go."

The store's community champion Mary Sutherland, pictured here with George, said: "George is such a character who will be missed by colleagues and customers alike.

George 6.jpg

" It was so nice that Asda CEO Roger Burnley popped into our store and personally wished him all the best too. We will miss you more than you know George."

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