Employee at Wendy’s in Kentucky saves customer’s life, credits CPR for life-saving action

Employee at Wendy’s in Kentucky saves customer’s life, credits CPR for life-saving action


Saleen Martin
 USA TODAY

When aspiring nurse Alexandria Cowherd showed up for her shift at Wendy’s last Thursday, she had no idea her skills would be put to the test that day.

She works at Wendy’s in Lexington, Kentucky, about 80 miles southeast of Louisville. 

She was working at the front register and had just dealt with an influx of customers when her teammate had her follow him outside near the trash cans. 

There, a man was on the ground turning purple. He had overdosed and the woman with him was trying to wake him up. 

With no Narcan and the woman struggling to save the man, Cowherd stepped in to help.

“She wasn’t doing her compressions for long enough,” Cowherd told USA TODAY Friday morning. “She’d do it a few times and then she’d try to do mouth-to-mouth. After a few minutes of that, I was just like ‘Here, I’ll do it.’”

Eventually, an ambulance arrived. She’s not sure how the man is doing now but a police officer told her the CPR compressions she did helped.

“He let me know that because I did CPR, they were able to transfer him to the hospital,” she said.

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Wendy’s employee learned CPR in high school

Cowherd learned CPR in high school. She took a nurse aid course, where she became CPR-certified. She graduated high school as a certified nursing assistant (CNA)  but life happened.

“COVID happened and I got pregnant, so I wasn’t able to get my eight hours on the floor that I needed to keep my certification,” she said.

Now, she’s enrolled in an eight-week nurse aide program at Bluegrass Community & Technical College so she can get recertified.

“I want to work in the NICU and help babies,” said Cowherd, who has a two-year-old daughter. “I’ve always wanted to help babies for as long as I can remember.”

Her class will be over in December and then she will take her state exam.

She said becoming a CNA will help her start her career in the medical field. She is looking to work her way up from there and eventually become a registered nurse.

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‘It’s weird for people to call me a hero’

Cowherd has worked at Wendy’s since March 2021. She joined her current location this past May.

Ryan O’Malley is the director of the Lexington Wendy’s franchise and said Cowherd is a great employee. She has perfect attendance, she is never late and she’s always ready and willing to help train new employees, he told USA TODAY via email Friday morning.

“Alexandria was one of our top adoption fundraisers for the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption,” he said. “The Foundation helps find forever families for the 140,000 children waiting to be adopted from foster care.”

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What she did for the troubled customer last week was nothing special, she said. It’s what any decent person would do.

“It’s weird for people to call me a hero because I don’t feel like a hero,” she said. 

“I just did what I felt was the right thing to do. And I feel like everybody should know how to do CPR because you never know when it will be necessary.”

To find CPR classes near you, visit www.tinyurl.com/FindRCCPR.

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