Salem County mom Shari Williams wants to personally thank the man who helped save her 15-month-old daughter's life. She just has to find him.
"I'm so grateful for him," said Williams. "I felt her fading away. I never want to experience that again."
Williams was in the parking lot of the Olive Garden in Deptford, New Jersey, last Tuesday when her daughter Diamon stopped breathing.
The day had started off upbeat for Williams and her daughters. The three left their Penns Grove home for a girls’ day of shopping and lunch. After buying her 3-year-old daughter Kristina shoes at the Deptford Mall, Williams drove across the street so they could all get lunch at Olive Garden.
As soon as Williams had parked the car and unbuckled both girls, she noticed that Diamon's face was blue, and the child started seizing. At first, Williams said she thought her baby was choking, and then she realized Diamon was not breathing.
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"Breathe, baby, breathe! Mama wants you to breathe," she said to her unresponsive daughter.
She immediately yelled for help, asking people in a nearby car to call 911. Williams, a certified nursing assistant herself, began to administer CPR but grew weary. That's when the mystery man stepped in, gave CPR and started chest compressions on the hood of her car. Moments later, Diamon gasped for breathe.
People who had gathered around, including the restaurant's assistant manager Joanna Gianaris and other workers, shared a sigh of relief. Gianaris said she’d seen people choke before, and admired the stranger who walked into such a stressful situation to assist.
"It would be nice to reward this man. We’d love to send him a gift card," said Gianaris. But she has no idea who he is either. "I've worked here for 11 years and never seen him."
After he had carried her baby to the ambulance, Williams shook the stranger’s hand in the parking lot before jumping in the ambulance with Diamon. But she didn't get his name. She remembers that he wore a blue, long-sleeved shirt while giving the life-saving aid.
Diamon was taken to Cooper Hospital, treated and released later that day. Her doctor said she had suffered a febrile seizure, triggered by a quick spike in her body temperature.
Besides the blue shirt, Williams also recalled the good Samaritan was probably in his 20s, bald and about 5'9''. If she can find him, she has a few words she’s like to share, in person.
"He saved her. I'd like to thank him personally if given a chance," Williams said. "I hope to return to the Olive Garden in the near future and actually have a meal with the girls."