The mum of a three-year-old has sent her thanks to a shopping centre security guard who saved his life when he began to choke on his breakfast.
Jayden Percy was eating a piece of sausage in the outside seating area of the Esquires cafe in The Bridges in Sunderland when he began to struggle.
Mum Sarah Gray, 25, desperately tried to force the food free from his throat before her sister Claire Dwyer, 35, took over.
It was then that security guard Carl Simpson stepped in and used his first aid training to help the youngster breathe again.
Sarah, from Thorney Close, said: “He just started choking and I was just in shock and I was trying to tip him up to get it out and then my sister tried and couldn’t get it up.
“The security guard came running over and managed to get it straight out.
If it wasn’t for that security guard, he could have been gone.Sarah Gray
“Jayden was just shocked and he was crying, but then an hour later he was running around like it had never happened.
“I was so thankful that he’s still here.
“If it wasn’t for that security guard, he could have been gone.
“I spoke to the management afterwards to tell them and to pass on my thanks to him.”
The incident happened on Saturday morning as Carl and his colleagues were carrying out their usual checks as the centre opened for the day, when its cafes are popular with families ordering breakfast.
Carl, 43, from Grindon, has worked at the centre for five years.
He said: “A woman came running towards us shouting for help and I said ‘What’s the problem?’ and she explained a toddler was choking.
“He’d been given a piece of sausage which had been cut up, but he hadn’t chewed it and it had become stuck.
“His mam and some other family members were there and I could see he was changing colour to a blue grey.
“I got him in the Heimlich manoeuvre and I gave him some back slaps and he coughed up some blood and a little bit of sausage. “I thought that was it, but he still wasn’t breathing.
“I could hear in my ear from the lads in the control room that there were paramedics were on the way and they might be calling in the air ambulance, but there was no way I was going to stop until they arrived.
“Then he coughed up the big piece and some more blood.
“It was such a relief.
“We could see the colour and pink returning to his cheeks.”
Jayden was seen by paramedics before he was taken to hospital for further checks.
Carl added: “They said why not have an hour upstairs, but I just got on with the day.
“When I looked at the CCTV on my break later that I saw it had lasted 10 to 12 minutes, but it felt quite a lot longer, and I was quite shocked to see it all after it had happened.
“I’m just over the moon the bairn is all right.”
Andy Bradley, centre director at the Bridges, said: “Without doubt, Carl saved this little boy’s life and we are all incredibly impressed and extremely grateful for his fast actions.
“All of our staff are highly trained in first aid and ready to act quickly in emergency situations like this, as Carl proved on the day when he rushed to Jayden’s aid.
“He managed to take charge of the moment and step in to save his life where a lot of people may have just panicked, and we are very proud to have him on our team.
“We are delighted to hear that Jayden is fit and well and has made a full recovery.”