Chick-fil-A Employee Hears 'Frantic Cries,' Rescues Child Being Strangled in Drive-Thru

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Chick-fil-A employees are often heralded as the fast-food service gold standard. They’re effervescent, cheerful and always aim to please.

They also have a habit of going the extra mile, whether it’s helping change out a tire, making quarantine birthdays extra special or simply playing music for drive-thru customers so they can have more of a dine-in experience while dining rooms are closed.

But on Monday, it was a group of Chick-fil-A employees in Columbus, Georgia, that teamed up to save the life of a little child.

“Today Zack ‘Cowboy’ Kokenzie saved a choking child in Chick-fil-A Manchester Expressway’s drive thru just after lunch from a life-threatening situation,” Chick-fil-A Manchester Expressway posted on its Facebook page.

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Kokenzie, nicknamed “Cowboy” after staying on a bucking horse but nearly breaking a finger in the process, was the man for the job — cool under pressure, and ready for many surprise situations thanks to his Boy Scout history. As the Chick-fil-A post stated, “The Boy Scout Motto is ‘Be Prepared’ and Zack certainly was.”

“Shortly after the busy lunch rush today, frantic cries were heard in the drive thru line,” the post continued. “The cries were coming from an SUV just outside the drive thru window. A father was seen rushing to the back of his SUV.”

The post highlighted the fact that the restaurant’s dining room is currently closed, allowing employees to focus on the drive-thru and perhaps enabling them to notice the situation more quickly.

“Today, Zack heard panicked cries coming from a vehicle in drive thru. Zack due to his Eagle Scout days and being CPR certified went toward the commotion,” the post said.

“He observed the father and another customer trying to free what appeared to be a choking child child in the rear seat. The cries were from the other children in the vehicle.”

The child was actually being strangled by the seat belt, which was wrapped tightly around the child’s neck, pressing on the windpipe.

Kokenzie wasn’t the first to rush to help, but he was more prepared — thanks to a fellow employee.

“Another customer had left his vehicle and was trying unsuccessfully to assist the father in removing the seat belt by reaching through the back window,” according to the post.

“Fellow team member Zachary Bullock passed a pair of scissors through the window and Zack ‘Cowboy’ Kokenzie calmly walked over to the rear of the vehicle and cut through the seatbelt in seconds freeing the child.”

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“Great job Cowboy and to our team for responding so quickly to avert a life threatening situation. We are thankful that everyone is okay.”

Alex Vann, the owner and operator of the store, later praised Kokoenzie and the crew for their actions.

“Zack and our team acted quickly in rescuing a child from a life-threatening situation,” he said, according to the post. “I am proud of Zack, Justin, Zachary B. and our team for their quick thinking and quick responses.

“This could have been far worse, but Zack and others were in the right place, with the right training and the right attitude to potentially save the life of one of our customers. We are glad everyone is alright.”

Many commented on the post, thanking Kokenzie and praising God for the Chick-fil-A team’s quick actions.

Family and friends who knew Kokenzie through Boy Scouts praised him and said they were proud of him, though probably no one is as thankful and grateful as the family whose child he saved.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking