Most of us don’t wake up in the morning and think that we would be faced with a life-altering situation on that day, but like most unexpected things we face in our lives, situations like this test our character. Though it is rare that we have to make split-second decisions to save someone else’s life on an ordinary day, some people show their heroic qualities when the rare event does happen. This was certainly true for Pedro Viloria from Doral, Florida.
It was a regular early morning for Viloria at his job as a server at McDonald’s in March 2017. As he went about his work serving customers at the drive-in window, he saw nothing amiss at first when a woman ordered her breakfast. In the car were her two children, a boy and a girl. She ordered normally enough and even paid, but when Viloria returned to the window, he saw that something was wrong. He wasn’t the only one to notice that something was off, as by then, her children also saw that their mother required medical assistance for an emergency.
This is a difficult situation to be in, and someone behind a window at a fast-food restaurant may not know what to do all of a sudden, but Viloria was no ordinary person. When he noticed that the medical emergency could prove to be fatal not just to the mom but also her children, he jumped to action without a second thought. This story from 2017 shows us that not all heroes wear capes.
“If I would have had to die to save that woman, I would have done it,” Viloria said. “My brain was on hero mode.” Viloria also added, “I thought, ‘If those kids lose their mother today, that’s going to be tragic.’”
Viloria showed that he was a true hero that day. Once the car was safely stopped, he told the children to call 911. “I was with the kids – I was trying to tell them it will be all right, the kids were breaking my soul,” he said. This is a difficult situation for any child to have to face, but thankfully for them as well as Viloria, help was closer than they realized.
As Viloria ran back into the restaurant for help, a customer who identified herself as a paramedic also jumped into action to help the woman. Within minutes, two off-duty firefighter officers named Lazaro Fernandez and Jean Joseph, who came as customers at the fast-food outlet, also arrived at the scene to help when they rapidly realized that something was wrong. Soon enough, first responders arrived at the scene, started performing CPR on the woman and using a defibrillator to revive her. Though he is touted as a hero, Viloria said, “The real heroes are the fire rescuers.”
The woman was taken to the hospital in critical condition according to the Independent. As per the news outlet, the woman, who remains unnamed, was an off-duty police officer. There were no further reports about her condition after this event. When Viloria was asked how he felt about saving a police officer, he responded, “What! I saved an officer’s life? I can’t believe this.”
Viloria’s actions have not gone unnoticed, and he received recognition from the mayor of Miami-Dade for his acts of heroism in April 2018 as per WSVN. “Your actions saved the life of one of our officers for the Miami-Dade Police Department,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez at a ceremony. The ceremony was held for Viloria as well as the three other people who had helped to save the unconscious woman.
About the honor he received, Viloria said. “We’re celebrating the fact that we are still able to save people and we’re still able to do selfless acts.” Thankfully, everyone was present at the McDonalds outlet at the right time to help save the off-duty policewoman’s life. “And this is a fine example of how all of us did protect one of us and save somebody’s life,” Gimenez said about the joint effort.
Viloria was even offered an opportunity to work in the government by the mayor! “After this, we’ll come and see you, and hopefully you can join our internship program at the mayor’s office, so you can see what government’s all about,” said Gimenez. What a wonderful opportunity for Viloria! Though there are no updates about whether Viloria pursued this internship offer, we are sure that he will never forget the fact that he saved a woman’s life on that fateful day.
“I just feel good about this,” Viloria said in April 2018. “It feels good, like I was telling you, to have people gather to celebrate this.” We wish Viloria the very best for his future!