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Courageous Act by Buffalo Wild Wings Team Member Saves Guest’s Life

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By Kendra Rhim

It started out as a regular shift for Stephanie Graham-Powell. She made sure guests were taken care of and laughed with coworkers, until she suddenly heard a commotion from across the restaurant. A guest in her section was choking, and Stephanie knew she had to take action.

“Two guys sat in my section and ordered boneless wings,” Stephanie explained. “All of a sudden, one of the guys stood up. I thought he needed a drink refill or something else for his meal. I then realized he was trying to get my attention because he was choking.”

Stephanie noticed the guest’s friend was attempting the Heimlich maneuver but was doing it incorrectly. Lucky for this guest, Stephanie previously served as a medical assistant and habilitation specialist for people with disabilities. So naturally, she sprang into action, performing the Heimlich maneuver until the food was released from the guest’s airway.

“Despite my background, I was still a bit nervous because you just never know how these things will turn out – but I knew I was qualified and once the guest started pointing to me, I knew I needed to intervene,” Stephanie said.

Afterward, Stephanie sat the guest down, got him some water, and made sure he was okay.

As a token of appreciation for the courageous act, Stephanie received a Challenge Coin from Bobby Pancake, Co-Owner and Co-Founder of High 5 Hospitality (H5H), a Delaware-based hospitality group composed of 16 different franchise-owned restaurants – including this particular sports bar.

There are five Challenge Coins within H5H:

  • Wooden Nickel: Employees receive on their first day and comes with a 5% off-duty discount at H5H restaurants.
  • Brand-Specific Coin: Employees received on their 100th day evaluation after completing training. This coin comes with a 10% off-duty discount at H5H restaurants.
  • Exceptional Standards Coin: Received at the H5H Honors event or when employees demonstrate great performance. This coin comes with an off-duty discount of 15% at H5H restaurants.
  • Trewartha Coin: Received when Mark Trewartha, COO of H5H, observes behaviors that show deep roots and branching out to learn/do new things. This coin features an off-duty discount of 20% at H5H restaurants.
  • Pancake Coin: No written criteria exist to earn this coin. It is presented by Bobby Pancake, but it has nothing to do with how you treat him – it’s how you treat guests and team members. It’s about the energy employees display when they’re on the floor and the pursuit of excellence, kindness, and giving guests the ‘wow’ experience.

“Stephanie went above and beyond the call of duty,” Bobby said. “We are extremely grateful for her swift action. She turned what could have been a tragedy into something that we will continue to tell stories about for years to come. We are incredibly proud that Stephanie is part of Team B-Dubs Christiana.”

Bobby Pancake and Stephanie Graham-Powell

“This coin makes me feel so special,” Stephanie shared. “This is the Pancake Coin, and I received the highest-ranking coin possible! This is all so random, but I am happy to be acknowledged. Every day I go to work and sometimes, I don’t want to leave because my team is like family to me – I really do love everyone I work with.”

The front of the coin aptly displays a photo of a stack of pancakes, and the back features a word cloud that captures H5H’s brands, menu items, and values Bobby holds at a high regard.

Front and back of Pancake Coin

Stephanie already received an employee discount at this location, but she now receives discounts on her meals at all High 5 Hospitality restaurants.