Thursday, July 28, 2011

Lighting the Way

Last March I was calmly eating dinner with a fellow employee before starting my evening job. We had both heated up Lean Cuisines and were munching in silence, when suddenly she slapped her hand down on the table and started choking. I stood up, watched as her face started panicking, then went around behind her and gave her the Heimlich manoevre. I was freaking out as well, since she was wearing stays, and I couldn't exactly feel where her navel was...bits of CPR class were flashing through my mind: "Feel for the navel...don't be afraid to be upward may break a rib..." I threw out a little prayer and heaved. She made a sound like a garbage disposal backfiring, and spit up a piece of potato. Gross, but we were both so relieved that we didn't care. She was crying, I was crying, we were both trying to remember how to breathe. After about fifteen minutes, we went back to eating dinner...and a few minutes after that our manager showed up. "What's up, guys?" he asked, sensing the tension, seeing red, tear sodden eyes. "Oh, nothing," my coworker said, "Only Nicki just saved my life."

It impacted me pretty majorly, but after a month or so, I had sort of forgotten about the event. Until last week, when a committee showed up at work unannounced. At first I thought it was a tour of Operations, but when I saw my evening program supervisor, I unscrewed my ear buds and paid attention. "We are here today," one of the ladies announced "to honor an employeed with a Lighting the Way Award--" geez, I thought, who deserves that?-- "an employee who acted quickly in the face of life or death situation--Nicole Lemery!" I was shocked. Really shocked. And touched, that my act was recognised not only by the woman who I helped, but by the company I work for. The Lighting the Way Award is given to an employee who goes above and beyond the Foundation expectation. Although I try to argue that anyone would step in and try to help if someone was choking, I'm grateful that my company got to see that I'm capable under fire.

The award itself is a small brass candlestick (above) and a little patch you can stick on your nametag so everyone will know you've won this award. (the flowers in the picture above, I should mention, are from Jeff--he surprised me after work today with them) I'm still pretty pleased about the whole thing. I just wanted to let everyone know and brag a little hasn't been easy lately, but sometimes karma is a beautiful thing.

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