TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) — A Tulsa McDonald's employee with autism is being called a hero due to her quick thinking on the job to help a teenage boy.
"I clean tables and I mop floors and I bring food out," Shelby Fielding said.
Fielding, 27, works at the McDonald's location off of 71st and Yale. She told NewsChannel8 that it's part of a program by the Department of Rehabilitation Services and Tulsa's Rise Staffing. The program helps support Oklahomans with intellectual or developmental disabilities to find jobs. Organizers said the program serves as a way to help people make money who couldn't find jobs by themselves while also learning or developing important social skills.
"We came in and she learned how to do the job," said Fielding's Lead Job Coach Stephanie Preston. "[She] loved it and she just began socially interacting with all of the employees."
Fielding said she liked the fact that the job gave her the opportunity to work and interact with people in an environment she may not have be able to otherwise. That interaction is what she and her co-workers say played a critical role in the steps she took to help save a child last week.
Fielding said a teenage boy in a wheelchair and his father had come into the restaurant last Tuesday morning during a busy breakfast rush. Fielding said that she noticed the pair order some food, and sit down at a table before the situation escalated within the next half hour.
"I looked over and I see that the father was getting his son out of the chair and got on the floor and the boy started having a seizure," said Fielding.
Fielding said, after talking with the boy's father briefly, she picked up the nearest work phone and called authorities to bring help.
"I told them the location and what was the emergency," said Fielding.
NewsChannel8 spoke with Fielding's mother, Deanne Fernandez, about the experience as well, who said she believed her daughter's actions were heroic.
"She stayed on the phone with the dispatcher until they arrived," said Deanne Fernandez. "And I'm just completely blown away."
NewsChannel8 also asked Fielding if there was a message she'd like to send to the boy whose life she may have helped save.
"I hope you get better soon," said Fielding.
If you or someone you know is looking for an opportunity to learn and challenge yourself through Rise Staffing, you can click here for contact information and to learn more.