“That’s $15.35 in total, please,” Pedro Viloria said through his mic. Then the cars honked. People were so impatient, but he knew that this was how people typically behaved when they were hungry. He filled the cups and stuffed the bags with food. Soggy fries are the worst. So, he was careful not to put the fries on the bottom and the boxes on top. He opened the window and was greeted by screaming children.
Viloria was still trying to figure out his future. He watched his mom work two jobs, working sixty hours a week to put food on the table for him and his four siblings. She was saving up as much money as possible to help pay for his college tuition, but he felt bad. He had good grades, but they weren’t good enough to earn him a full scholarship. However, he knew that most schools would take him in if he had the tuition money. So, after he graduated, he broke the shocking news to his mom.
Viloria’s mom had made too many sacrifices. She barely functioned on four hours of sleep. But somehow, she worked a 10-hour shift, 6 days a week. He was amazed she was able to wake up in time to make everyone breakfast in the morning, and have dinner on the table between jobs. If anyone deserved a break, it would be her. So, over dinner, he announced, “I’m getting a job.” She spoke to him for a whole hour before grabbing her purse and walking out. That part was easy. Now came the hard part.
Viloria had never had a job before, but not because he didn’t want to work. His mother didn’t want him to get one. The only work she would allow him to do was mow the lawn or paint the fences for his neighbors. She wanted him to focus solely on school, to “build a decent life for himself.” What kind of man would he be if he sacrificed her life for his own well-being? There was no way she could support the family and pay his tuition, but landing a job wasn’t as easy as he thought.
His resume wasn’t very impressive. The only experience he had was babysitting, painting, and gardening. He had no qualifications, and his hobbies included reading and watching TV. Fortunately, he had a positive attitude. So, he put on an ironed white shirt, and started job hunting around Doral, Florida. His only companion on this journey was a briefcase he borrowed from his neighbor. But all anyone said to him was “We’ll be in touch.” Things weren’t looking so good.
Older families in the neighborhood hired Viloria to do odd jobs such as cleaning carpets, washing dishes, and walking dogs. This earned him a couple of bucks. So, he decided to treat his siblings. His mother didn’t approve. “Don’t waste your money,” she said. But Viloria was hard-headed. What’s more, he invited her to join them on her only day off. No one had any idea that this day was going to have some serious repercussions a couple of days later.
After playing some gutter ball and two rounds of bowling, Viloria took his family to McDonalds to get some Happy Meals and some ice cream. While they were there, he noticed a “help wanted” sign. So, the next day, he gave them all of his information. They offered a couple of hours and it paid higher than minimum wage. He just had to wait for their call. He never imagined he would become one of their best employees.
Viloria’s positive attitude impressed the management team. So, he was offered a job right away and started his training the very next day. He struggled to find a flow between the cash register, milkshake machines, placing orders and packing. Fortunately, his team was patient with him. Best of all, they were well aware of his predicament and wanted to give him as much help as possible. But no one expected him to help a customer the way he did.
Viloria had to adjust to the early 5 a.m. shifts. He tucked his siblings into bed because his mother was at work. Then, he would go to sleep. Knowing that his family wouldn’t have to sacrifice anything for him to go to college made him very happy. Each person he served, even the floors he mopped brought him closer to achieving his ultimate goal. Then, a family pulled up to his window right in the middle of morning rush-hour. That’s when he noticed the woman driver.
The two young kids screamed from their seat: “Mother, mother! Stop it! Mother, what are you doing?” Viloria expected the car to stop at the window. It didn’t. It kept on moving forward. The woman’s eyes were closed, and nothing her kids did woke her up. Viloria left their order on the counter, and then jumped into action.
Viloria got to the car, opened the passenger door and stopped the vehicle before it could crash into anything. As it turned out, the mother had passed out after ordering breakfast. That’s when the children started screaming, and they kept doing it because their mother wouldn’t wake up. “Hello?” Viloria called repeatedly. Then he realized some special people were having breakfast.
There were a few regular customers Viloria recognized, the two firefighters, and a paramedic, who had walked in after their shift. They heard his pleas and rushed over to help. Together, they were able to take the woman out of the car and stabilize her condition. Then she was taken to the hospital. “In that moment, I thought, ‘I’d rather save that woman’s life,’” he said.
The woman was an off-duty cop. Thankfully, she arrived at the hospital in time. She was critical but stable. And on the mend, thanks to Viloria. “Basically, I thought something was going wrong,” he explained after seeing her “trying to breathe.” He never expected his Tuesday morning to start out quite like this. McDonald’s spokespeople had something to say about the incident too.
“He is an excellent employee, so it didn’t surprise me that he took immediate action to jump through a window to help save this woman,” shared a McDonald’s spokesperson. “Their quick thinking and action were everything in that moment.” Viloria was praised by customers as well as his fellow employees. Nothing in his job description required him to be a superhero, but he decided to add it to his list of things to do.
“I think I speak for our McDonald’s family when I say how proud we are of Pedro,” said the spokesperson. But who are his biggest fans? Uh that would be his mom and siblings. It turns out that Viloria began looking into becoming a paramedic. There’s no doubt that he saved that family from certain danger. Even he was surprised by his actions. “I saved an officer’s life? I can’t believe this.” Hopefully, he achieves his dreams and saves more lives!