A teenager helped by a homeless man after he collapsed outside McDonald’s said he did not ‘know what would have happened’ without him.
The 17-year-old was walking past the Liverpool Road restaurant at 8pm on Sunday when he collapsed with severe chest pains.
It is nice to know that not everyone out there is bad. It is a shame homeless people are branded the way they are because he was a really nice bloke
A homeless man who was outside put him in the recovery position, and McDonald’s customers and staff called paramedics to the his aid. Now he is feeling better, he has thanked everyone who helped him. He added: “If it wasn’t for the homeless fella I don’t know what would have happened.”
The teen said it had changed his perceptions of homeless people: “It has given me a wake-up call. It is amazing what he did for me.
“It is nice to know that not everyone out there is bad. It is a shame homeless people are branded the way they are because he was a really nice bloke.”
Carrie Robson from Goring and her father Phil were about to get food when they saw the teenager and rushed to help. She said: “I thought I would try to help if I could. Seeing a young lad lying on the floor like that was awful”.
When the McDonald’s manager called 999, Carrie said the call operator would not send a paramedic until they knew his name and age – despite him being unable to speak as he ‘was in so much agony’. She said a paramedic was sent after an acquaintance of the teenager walked past by chance and gave his details. She felt ‘disappointed’ by the ambulance service.
An ambulance spokesman said: “We take any concerns raised seriously and are sorry that this caller was unhappy with her experience. We ask a series of important questions as part of the call triage process. We appreciate that the questions may not always seem relevant. Part of the triage process in this call was to attempt to establish for clinical purposes whether the patient was aged over or under 25.
“A paramedic in a car attended the scene and was backed up by an ambulance crew. The patient was assessed and treated before being taken to Worthing Hospital. We would like to thank all those who stopped to help the patient and would invite anyone with any concerns to contact us directly so we can look into this matter for them.”
A series of tests at Worthing Hospital ruled out a heart attack, but the cause of the teenager’s fainting spells and chest pains is still a mystery.
The next day, the catering staff member went back to McDonald’s to thank the homeless man in person, to which he replied: “It is the normal thing to do, isn’t it?”
A McDonald’s spokesman said: “We’re pleased to hear that our restaurant team reacted quickly and calmly, offering first aid assistance before paramedics arrived.
“We hope that he makes a speedy recovery.”