Baby born today in parking lot of North Augusta restaurant

Tonya and Rodney Tillman pose in the back of an ambulance with their new addition, Ezekiel James Tillman.

NORTH AUGUSTA -- Tonya Tillman never expected that her first child would be born at one of her favorite restaurants.


But Ezekiel James Tillman arrived about 4:20 p.m. today in the parking lot of Gary’s Hamburgers on Georgia Avenue in North Augusta.

His father Rodney said the Tillmans, of North Augusta, had stopped there earlier in the day to have breakfast after visiting Trinity Hospital of Augusta. Mrs. Tillman began having labor pains in the morning, but she was sent back home.

Her son wasn't expected until July 17.

North Augusta Department of Public Safety received a call at 4:28 p.m. that a woman was in labor on her way to the hospital. They directed her to Gary’s to wait for the ambulance.

“We provided life support until EMS could get here,” said Lt. Clay Swann. The baby was wrapped in a foil blanket for warmth.

With the help of her husband and mother-in-law, Bena, the 32-year-old delivered her first child in the backseat of a van.

“She didn’t really need help,” Bena said. “She pushed and the head came out.”

Mr. Tillman said he named his son Ezekiel for its Biblical meaning, strength of God.

“Oh man, it’s amazing,” he said of his first son. “The doctors are like in awe. They can’t believe she had it that quick.”

The couple also happens to be regulars at Gary’s.

“We both love Gary’s restaurant,” Mr. Tillman said. “We were just saying the other day how Gary’s has the best hamburger in town.”

And now it has it's first baby. Gary’s manager Andrew Watson said it’s the first child born at Gary’s that he knows of.

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