Waiter hailed a hero after saving choking baby's life at Longhorn Steakhouse
Fri, 21 Mar 2014 04:00:00 GMT —
Life hasn't been easy for little Isaiah.
Born with Down Syndrome, the 3-month old is fighting problems with his esophagus.
Mom thought his surgery around Christmas-time ended the complications he had with swallowing.
That is until Isaiah stopped breathing March 7th after choking during a bottle feeding at Longhorn Steakhouse in Harlingen.
Alma Maldonado says her son nearly died.
But a quick-thinking waiter, who she nominated for the Pay it 4Ward prize, stepped in to perform CPR.
"I'm looking for Jacob," Action 4's Ryan Wolf said to a man sitting at a table alone.
"Hi, I'm Jacob," the man responded.
"I'm Ryan Wolf with Action 4 News... How are you?" Ryan asked him.
Jacob Escamilla's boss at the restaurant called him in for a fake meeting.
Ryan shares why he's really here.
"So can I bring them in?" Ryan asked while pointing to a family standing in the distance at the restaurant.
"Sure!" Jacob said.
There's an immediate connection.
It's a reunion these two didn't know they'd ever have.
Jacob gives Alma a hug.
He can't help but to also hold the boy he brought back to life.
"I'm Alma," she told him. "I just want to thank you for what you did last week. Because of you, my baby is still here. And I don't know what would have happened if you hadn't stepped up. I know there was a lot of people here but nobody stepped in. I want the whole Valley to know that you are the best waiter here in the Valley. And I want to Pay it 4Ward."
Karen Gonzalez with GEF Financial Agency awards Jacob his Pay it 4Ward prize.
"When Ryan told me about this story, it gave me chills," she told Jacob. "It's amazing what you did. You were at the right place at the right time. And it's because of you that this beautiful little boy is alive. So we wanted to reward that. On behalf of GEF Financial and Action 4 News, please put out your hand. Here's 4-hundred dollars."
"What's your reaction?" Ryan asked him next.
"I'm surprised," the waiter said. "I didn't know that this was going to happen. Honestly though, I don't think I can take this."
Jacob held the $400 he just received and handed it to Alma.
"You deserve this more than I do with medical expenses and everything," he told the mother. "I want you to keep it. I want him to keep it. I honestly do... Here."
The 19-year-old nursing student, who learned CPR from his sister, once again shows why he's a hero.
"My baby's healthy," he told Ryan. "He needs it more than mine. I got blessed with this job and my girlfriend has a steady job as well. I'm really just honored that I'm having this honor over here. I'm always going to have a relationship with this boy."
Jacob and Alma embrace once again.
Alma says it's a bond forever sealed from her son's guardian angel in disguise.
Jacob works weekends at Longhorn Steakhouse in Harlingen.
He'll start nursing school at TSTC in the Fall.