Helping a newborn take her first breaths isn't part of Linda Ross's job description as manager of the Hardee's restaurant at New Circle and Broadway.
But that's what Ross found herself doing Wednesday morning after she looked out of the restaurant's drive-through window and saw a commotion in the parking lot.
"A van had pulled up and parked; the doors were open," she said. A woman got out of the van and ran inside the restaurant and said, "My friend is having a baby; call 911," then she asked for towels, Ross said.
"When I got to the van, the baby was laying in the mom's lap," Ross said. "I picked her up and kind of patted her bottom while supporting her head, and she let out a cry. I said, 'good, good.' "
The baby was breathing, but not like she should have been, Ross said.
One of the two friends accompanying the mother was on the phone with emergency workers and relayed instructions to Ross to clean the baby's mouth and nose so the newborn could breathe better, Ross said.
"I just kept jostling her, trying to keep her breathing," she said.
Lexington emergency medical technicians arrived within three minutes of being summoned, fire department Battalion Chief Harold Hoskins said. Ross said EMTs suctioned the baby's mouth and nose and cut the umbilical cord before taking mom and child to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital by 9:19 a.m., within 15 minutes after the ambulance arrived at Hardee's.
Ross said the van was on its way to the UK hospital because the woman was in labor, and the baby's father apparently was on his way there in another vehicle.
She said she overheard one of the woman's friends talking to the father by phone, telling him that they didn't make it to the hospital in time and that the baby had been born in the parking lot.
"You only see this in movies or hear about it," said Ross, a mother of two and a grandmother of two. "It's another thing I can add to 'just when I thought I heard or saw everything.'"
She said someone from the fire department called her to let her know the mother and baby were doing well.