'Angel' Esme praised for her quick-thinking help for choking baby

November 2, 2020

When a 14-month-old baby started choking on a piece of plastic in our Greenhithe store our fabulous colleague Esme Matthews didn’t think twice about stepping in to save her life.

Mother-of-two Esme, who's 43, said instinct just took over when she heard the customer shouting for help.

She said: "The lady was screaming that her baby was choking so I grabbed the child, put her over my leg and hit her on the back. The baby's lips were blue and it was really scary, but I managed to dislodge the plastic and the mum pulled it out of her mouth with her fingers. The baby then started to cry which was a good sign.

"It all happened in seconds and it really is still a bit of a blur. It was frightening at the time but it didn't really sink in till later what I'd done. I'm just so glad the baby was okay. As a mum myself it was a just a natural thing to do."

After the incident the child's mum wrote to us to praise Esme, saying she was "an angel."

She wrote that she was pushing her daughter, Tiger-May, in the trolley when she began to cough violently, was struggling to breathe and that her lips were turning pale.

She said: "I unclipped my daughter and began to bang on her back, but I was getting panicked as she still couldn't breathe. I was scared that my baby was dying, but Esme was an angel who headed straight towards me.

"She saw my situation and grabbed my daughter and patted her relatively hard at least three times. A piece of plastic wrapping came to the front of her mouth and I was able to pull it out. I could see that my daughter was crying and breathing now.

"It makes me tear up just remembering how she literally flew to me! What a wonderful woman and asset to Asda she is. I am forever grateful to her."

Store manager Chris Fawn says the whole store is so proud of Esme, saying: "It was a fantastic thing that she did – she saw what was going on and jumped in.

"The baby was choking on plastic, had stopped breathing and was going blue and Esme was the first person who came along.

"The mum couldn't get the plastic from the baby's throat so Esme bent the baby over and hitting her back to get it out and managed to get it to cough the plastic up and out of the mouth and all was good in the end.

"Esme said to me that she didn't think she was special or anything, saying it just had to be done! We are all massively proud of Esme here. Her actions at the end of the day saved the life of a young child."

Chris says Esme is a brilliant colleague. He said: "Her whole attitude and drive and passion in her job is second to none."

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