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Waitress lauded for quick actions to protect baby

Mellissa Colondo poses with her husband Robert and grandson Weston. Courtesy photo

A local waitress is being lauded as a hero after her quick actions saved a baby from severe burns when a hot bowl of soup was accidentally spilled on the child.

It was during a busy shift at the King’s Family Restaurant in Altoona that Mellissa Colondo rushed to aid the baby Madelyn, according to general manager Brenda Hoover.

On Thursday, Sept. 30, a grandmother, an aunt, two young boys and a baby girl were seated at a booth in Colondo’s section, Hoover said.

When serving a family with small children, Colondo says she always places hot food from her hand to her elbow’s length back onto the table so the children wouldn’t be able to reach it.

Despite this, either one of the boys or the baby managed to reach a bowl of soup, spilling the contents all over Madelyn.

According to Hoover, the restaurant’s soup is kept between 165 and 175 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Somehow, someway, they got a hold of it,” Colondo said.

Before anyone else could react, Colondo had rushed across the restaurant and began pulling the soiled clothes off the baby. She then retrieved packs of ice from the kitchen, pressing them against the baby’s skin to soothe the burns.

“It was so quick, I just reacted,” Colondo said. “I guess you want to call it my mom instincts; I am a mother of three.”

While Colondo was trying to calm the baby, Hoover worked to pack up the food for the two young boys to take with them, free of charge. According to Hoover, the family, who only identified themselves as the Stiles, were not from the area and had to be directed to the nearest walk-in health clinic to get treatment for Madelyn.

Colondo assisted the family even further by helping them out to their car and making sure they had everything they needed.

“That’s just the type of person she is,” Hoover said. “She goes above and beyond for her customers.”

Hoover urged the family to call the restaurant and update them on Madelyn’s condition.

“I said, ‘God answers prayers’ and all I said was ‘I hope that dear baby is OK'” Colondo said. She recalled that Madelyn and her own grandson appeared to be about the same age and that was all she could picture.

A little while later, the grandmother called the restaurant and told them that they were on their way to a local pediatrician and that the nurses at MedExpress had told them Madelyn had only suffered light burns.

“I was so relieved,” Colondo said.

Then, two days later, the grandmother returned to the restaurant with a bouquet of flowers and a card for Colondo, and another card for the rest of the staff.

Hoover, who was sitting at the front counter filling out paperwork, talked to the grandmother, who said she should be very proud of her staff.

“I told them, I am, I have a great staff,” Hoover said. “We do go above and beyond for the community.”

Colondo was touched by the show of appreciation.

“I was very surprised two days later when the grandmother brought in flowers and a card,” Colondo said. “She didn’t have to do it, and I was very appreciative. Those people could have walked out of our restaurant, and we never would have known who they were.”

The family wrote in Colondo’s card that she was a wonderful waitress and an asset to her community.

“Everything you did … shows that you are a hero,” the card reads.

The card for the staff reads, in part: “Your kindness, concern, and professionalism were well appreciated. You helped us navigate through a very scary situation, quickly and safely.”

Mirror Staff Writer Rachel Foor is at 814-946-7458.

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