A college student who works as a food runner at a restaurant says she was so overworked on one particularly muggy day that she had an asthma attack and nearly died. The young woman named Lia (@outlawlpb) shared her experience of the horrible night in a duo of now viral TikTok videos.
@outlawlpb so that’s how I get treated. Pt 2 is just up. #fyp #foryoupage #foryou #asthma #work #asthmaattack ♬ original sound – 😵💫
“I was so overworked at my job where I am yesterday,” Lia begins, “that I had a severe asthma attack for an hour while having to work and was taken to the hospital after collapsing on the floor and almost dying because I couldn’t get oxygen to my brain.”
Lia notes that many of her 22,400 followers found her through another viral video she shared, in which she claimed she had to show up for work just 20 minutes after a body was found in a park.
“Well, if you haven’t already been told, my job treats me pretty badly,” she says.
The TikToker explains that during her shift yesterday, she was just one of two food runners on the clock while other colleagues called and were sent home, on top of saying she was already understaffed.
“We were really understaffed because we went over budget,” she adds. “But yesterday a girl called, a girl was caught vaping in the restaurant and sent home at the start of her shift. So there was no waitress, and there were only two food runners, one of whom – the one I worked with – has back and neck injuries and can barely carry trays. She can only carry two or three plates on a tray, or two plates at a time.”
She adds that she doesn’t blame her fellow Foodrunner for her abilities, but believes she should be in a different role.
“Last night was one of our busiest nights at the restaurant we’ve had all year, no kidding,” Lia continues. “It was so extremely busy from probably 5:30pm until the time I collapsed and was taken to the hospital that we had maybe 25 tickets in the window. It was ridiculous.
As a food runner, it’s Lia’s job to garnish every plate, assemble and bring every order to the table, serve the plates, and wait on the tables.
“So keep in mind that there are about a hundred and fifty people in the restaurant at the moment. And I do all that. For 150 people,” she continues. “Which, the girl I worked with — she helped me a lot — but I’m still working a lot more than I should have.”
The creator notes that her severe asthma was triggered by constantly running outside to serve guests.
“It was so muggy outside, so hot and I was so exhausted that I could hardly breathe,” Lia describes. “And every time I came back I was so dizzy and I couldn’t breathe.”
She then told the chef that she had to run to her car and get her inhaler. The TikToker says he’s been incredibly supportive. “I love my chef to death,” she says. “He helped me so much last night.”
However, Lia says her manager wasn’t that helpful.
“At no point in the next hour did he ever examine me while my asthma was getting so bad,” she says. “Not once has he looked at me and said, ‘How’s your asthma, Lia?’ Not even.”
@outlawlpb ♬ original sound – 😵💫
After hitting her inhaler, Lia said she waited thirty minutes but still didn’t feel any relief. She then hit her inhaler repeatedly before collapsing on the floor. “I was literally on the floor panting and barely able to get a table to steady myself,” she recalls.
Her colleague found her and informed the manager, who urged Lia to go to the hospital.
“She goes and gets the manager who I originally told an hour earlier that I was having an asthma attack who never checked me out,” she continues. “He comes in and he’s like, ‘Oh my god, you need to go to the hospital. What do you need? What can I get you?'”
Lia called her mom because “[she] can’t afford a frigging ambulance because they don’t [pay] enough for her.” However, she couldn’t risk the wait and one of her colleagues had to drive her to the hospital. “So grateful for her for literally saving my life,” Lia adds. “I fucking love her.”
When the payee arrived at the University of Tennessee Medical Hospital, her colleague Emma rushed forward and skipped the line for Lia’s emergency.
“And so they came to me and tested my vitals,” Lia recalls. “My oxygen levels were extremely low, my heart rate was extremely, extremely high. My heart rate was 196.”
According to Medicine Net, any adult with a heart rate over 100 beats per minute is considered high.
She adds that her blood pressure fluctuated throughout the night, explaining that “it was extremely low at one point” and “extremely high” at another.
The TikToker says she received two steroid shots, an IV and respiratory treatment in the hospital.
“At that point I was doing much, much, much better,” says Lia. “I think I’ll be on steroids for the next two weeks to help with the swelling in my lungs, but what do I do from here? What do I do from here? What am I doing with my work? Because I know they’re going to rework me again, I know nothing’s going to change. What can I do?”
In the comments, Lia said she set a meeting with her boss to discuss filing a report with the company and getting her to pay her hospital bills since the incident happened while she was at work.
Her first video of the incident has been viewed over 73,000 times since it was posted on July 31. TikToker expressed their condolences to Lia in the comments, noting that no one should be worked to the point of suffering a medical emergency.
“Yes, I want to see everything they did to you here! I’m so sorry you had to go through this,” one user wrote.
“I’m so sorry, that made me really emotional. nobody deserves to be treated like that. so tired of these kinds of jobs,” added another.
“Oh honey 🙁 I’m so sorry. No job is worth your life,” said a third.
Others were surprised that Lia went to work the next day, to which she replied that she needed all the money she could get to cover her medical bills. She even pinned a comment at the top of her video that included her CashApp information and asked people for help with her situation.
“And you went in today?!” one user remarked.
“Sounds like an upcoming court case,” wrote a second.
Others shared their own experiences of being overwhelmed at work, while some encouraged her to look for a desk job rather than a job that required her to do so much physical activity.
“Girls same thing happened to me except with heat exhaustion,” claimed one TikToker.
“I had a lot of panic attacks at my last job. I went through a lot of trauma and my work environment was terrible, but I had a really bad one,” said another.
“Girls, find a desk job or something! this is not how you should be treated! I’ve been overworked in healthcare for 10 years. and during covid I’ve had enough!” a third user suggested.
Some TikTokers urged Lia to dish out the store she worked at, but she only shared that she worked at a high-end country club.
The Daily Dot has reached out to Lia for more comments on TikTok.
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