Silver Fox Steakhouse (Courtesy Silver Fox via Facebook)

Column by Kate Rice, Oil City News Contributor


The other night, several friends and I met for dinner at Casper’s Silver Fox Steakhouse. The food’s great, the atmosphere’s perfect for a variety of occasions, and the service is spectacular. 

So there we were, having a good meal and pleasant conversation, when one of my dinner companions looked over at the friend sitting beside me, frowning. “Are you OK?” she asked. 

Spoiler alert: My sidelong companion was, in fact, not OK. After a few moments, it became apparent that she was choking. While I know the theory behind the Heimlich (and have been the recipient before — thanks, Jude!) I was hesitant to try. I mean, what if she was actually OK, and I started working on her in the middle of the Silver Fox for no good reason?

Luckily, there were several people who became alerted to our situation and jumped into immediate action. 

“Call 911 NOW!” 

“I’m a nurse…”

These amazing people went to work on her immediately, Heimlich-ing her like her life depended on it — because it DID. As they worked to dislodge what turned out to be a chunk of meat, I asked her for the millionth time, “Can you breathe?” to which, if she could have replied, she might have said, “Obviously not, but your continual asking is so helpful. Thanks.” Only my friend would never say that, because she’s the nicest person on the planet. Which is also why she was trying to take care of the situation herself — she didn’t want to make a scene in the restaurant.

After what seemed like forever (my sense of time was definitely distorted), the offending food came popping out, and we all clapped, hailing these strangers who, in a matter of moments, had become heroes. Angels. Not long after, the EMTs arrived, just in time to check her out. Their response time was incredible. How they got there so quickly is beyond me. And to think that for them, this kind of situation is all in a day’s work? I don’t know what they’re paid or how often they’re thanked, but there isn’t enough money, and aren’t enough words, to equal their contribution to our community. 

And the Silver Fox staff? They were kind, attentive, supportive and comforting to my embarrassed friend, assuring her that they were just happy she was OK. 

Y’all, there are three takeaways from this. One: Make sure that you know how, and when, to administer the Heimlich! After sharing this story with others, it’s apparent that things like this happen more often than you’d think. It’s a skill I hope most of us never have to use, but a damn crucial skill to know.

Two: If you’re choking, don’t worry about making a scene — in fact, make the biggest scene you can, so that folks know you need help! Seriously, when I was choking, if you told me I had to strip naked in front of the entire restaurant to regain my ability to breathe, I would’ve done it in a heartbeat! (Thankfully, that’s not required. I’m just sayin…) Please don’t be shy when your life is on the line.

And third? Most people in this world — in this community — are good. And not just good, but wonderful, caring souls. My friend sends her thanks out to the strangers who saved her life, the staff of the Silver Fox Steakhouse, the EMTs who practically materialized out of nowhere and all of the restaurant’s patrons that night who told my friend they were so glad she was fine, offering a heartfelt hug. 

As awful and scary as that situation was, I’m grateful to all of those people, too. These days, it’s way too easy to see the negativity and divisiveness in the world. So thank you all for reminding me that humans totally rock. And for saving my friend’s life.