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article imageTeen has asthma attack in Tim Hortons, employees refuse to help

By Arthur Weinreb     Mar 5, 2013 in Business
London - According to a customer, when the 17-year-old asked to use the phone, he was refused. And when paramedics tried to enter through an exit door, staff at the London, Ontario coffee shop refused to let them in. The company says their staff acted properly.
According to the witness, the incident took place Sunday afternoon in a Tim Hortons in downtown London. Customer Kali Sproat was in line when she noticed a young man going from cash register to cash register trying to get the attention of employees. Sproat said, "He was visibly having a hard time breathing, gasping for air." Sproat also said the youth got out two words; "phone" and "help."
When he said that to an employee, he was, according to Sproat, told the telephones were not for customer use and he was advised to go across the street and use the payphone at the variety store. Sproat said she called 911 and stayed with the boy until EMS arrived. The woman also said the boy told her he suffers from asthma and his inhalers were not working.
When paramedics arrived, they tried to get in an exit-only door and no employee went to open the door. They ultimately managed to get the door open and took the teen to hospital.
The parent company has a much different version of events. According to Michelle Robichaud, a spokeswoman with Tim Hortons, the boy did ask to use the phone but when he did, he showed no signs he was in distress. By the time an employee realized something was wrong and went to get a manager, a customer had already dialed 911. Robichaud said, "Our manager was aware that EMS had been called and that the boy was looked after."
According to posts made on Tim Hortons Facebook page, the teen told Sproat his name was Brett. The London Free Press reports they have not been able to contact the boy and no one by that name was admitted to area hospitals Sunday afternoon.
Despite denying the teen was in obvious distress, Tim Hortons plans to use the situation to remind employees of emergency procedures.
More about Tim hortons, Asthma attack, Paramedics, 911 calls
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