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04th Jun 2021

Irish mam tells of the “guardian angel” who saved her five year old from choking

Sarah McKenna Barry

Mary described how a man “came out of nowhere” to help her son.

An Irish mother has publicly thanked the man who saved her son from choking at a McDonald’s last week.

Mary Bryne called Gabriel McKenna her “guardian angel” after he leapt into action to help her son as he started choking outside the fast food restaurant in Newry. Gabriel, who normally goes through the drive-through but decided to avoid the queues, said that it was “divine intervention” that he was there at the right time and place.

She had taken her five year-old son, Johnny Óg, to McDonalds as a treat as he was off school that day. They were eating outside the restaurant when she realised that he was choking.

Mary attempted to dislodge the food herself, but it didn’t seem to help. At that stage, Johnny had stopped moving.

Mary added that three others jumped out of their cars to help, but they weren’t able to dislodge the food. Suddenly, Gabriel emerged and told Mary to give Johnny to him.

The man turned Johnny upside-down in the air and gave him two thrusts on the shoulder-blades, and the food came out.

Afterwards, they sat on the grass, and Mary asked Gabriel for his name three times. He told her that he was in line for the drive-through, but “something” told him to go round the front. Both Gabriel and Mary were emotional following the incident.

On LMFM Radio, Mary said that Gabriel was going to visit them soon with a “little angel” for Johnny.

“I really do think he was there for a reason,” she said. “There was definitely someone watching over us that day.”

Gabriel said: “I just saw the commotion and the young fellow who couldn’t breathe. I said a prayer and called on the angels to help me save him and luckily enough I was able to.

“The little child had turned white and his lips were blue and his poor mam was in an awful state. Sure anyone would have tried anything to save the child.”

In the days that followed, Gabriel paid the family a visit.