There's a family in Batavia whose Christmas is going to be a whole lot brighter thanks to Liz Machala.
That's because there's a baby who is alive who might not be if not for Machala's ability to remain calm under stress and her knowledge of CPR.
Yesterday at Settler's Restaurant, Machala was eating lunch with friends, as she often does on Tuesdays at Settler's, when there was a big commotion on the other side of the restaurant.
"The father was yelling, 'she's not breathing, she's not breathing, somebody do something.' "
Restaurant owner John Spyropoulos immediately called 9-1-1 and dispatchers sent an ambulance for a 6-month-old in cardiac arrest.
Machala rushed from her seat and found the baby was turning blue.
"I turned her on her side," Machala said. "I pounded her on her back. I stuck my fingers down her throat. She had something stuck. I pounded her on her chest and flipped her over again to pound her on her back and she started screaming."
Machala said her only thought at that point was, "I'm happy."
The baby was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital for evaluation and this morning the baby's mother came in the restaurant and said she wanted to do something for Machala but Machala said she isn't looking for any attention.
She doesn't like a lot of attention on herself she said and was a bit reluctant to even talk with a reporter about yesterday.
"Anybody would have done what I did," she said. "Unfortunately, nobody did. People don't like to get involved. I, unfortunately, am one of those people who will get involved and get my ass kicked in the end."
Machala learned CPR when she worked with mentally disabled people years ago.
This morning, Machala was in Settler's, as she usually is on Wednesday morning, with a group of friends.
As she was leaving, and the friends were all wishing each other a Merry Christmas, one of them told her, "Liz, I'm proud to know you."
"Now you're making me blush," Machala said.
UPDATE Thursday, Dec. 22, 10:20 a.m.: Falicia Tuczai posted the following on our link on Facebook:
I do not want my corrections to come across as rude, or negate the fact that I am truly grateful beyond measure for the impeccable aid my daughter received from Liz and everyone's assistance. But because this has gained so much publicized attention, I wanna clear up any inaccurate facts. First, I wanna bring attention to the other nurse that was involved in helping my daughter. She too was present, and from what I've gathered was actually the one who performed CPR. She certainly deserves as much praise as the lady already mentioned. However, I will not disclose her name with not having any type of prior consent. Thank you both sincerely for all your efforts in helping my daughter! We could obviously never repay such an act! The article does mention the "mother" going to the restaurant this morning to repay this nurse, however, that was not me as I have been with my daughter at the hospital. Additionally, my daughter's age is actually 14 months old. What she suffered from was a seizure. This has now been a reoccurrence to one she had in August. We hope to find answers to these sporadic unexplained episodes, but all things set aside she is healthy and happy and doing extremely well! So we appreciate all who were aware that reached out to us to check on her. As far as cardiac arrest, that is not something that occurred. It is common for the heart to shallow to a point it's hard to detect for a brief moment till your body stabilizes naturally. As she may have had food in her mouth, the seizure is what caused her to choke not visa versa. Seizures themselves are non-life threatening. It's other sources such as eating, driving etc. while an episode is happening that can be. I would never wish this experience on anyone, but with how common I learned of them to be, it never hurts to be knowledgeable on how to aid someone properly during a seizure and recognize the signs! It can be very intense and scary. Golisano children's neurological team has been amazing both times in our scares to bring comfort and awareness to us as well. And again thank you all so much to the nurses, EMTs, Drs Etc as well the outpouring of concern we received. Macie is one blessed and loved little girl.