By Aaron Brom
SUN PRESS NEWSPAPERS
Sometimes the worst things that happen can bring out the best things people have to offer.
I know by experience, as I recently made the first 911 call in my life and was uplifted at how caring people were in their response to a roadside emergency.
I was in New Brighton proceeding from Silver Lake Road onto westbound Interstate 694. Traffic was backed up onto the on-ramp. As my vehicle was crawling to join the jam on 694, I heard honking — like someone was annoyed at another driver — and looked to my left to see a car snaking through traffic and onto the shoulder.
As the car was nearly parallel to me on the ramp, I saw the driver rush out and scramble to the passenger door. He then pulled out a motionless passenger and quickly began CPR. I yelled out that I would dial 911.
As I told the operator about what I was seeing and where the location was, she alerted me that someone had already called in the emergency. Amazing how fast someone else must have responded, since I’m guessing it took me under 20 seconds to witness the emergency and dial 911.
At this point numerous other passers-by stopped to assist in any way they could. It ends up the victim was an elderly woman, and the driver was her son. He later explained that she wasn’t feeling well and asked her son to drive her to the hospital. She must have passed out and stopped breathing just as I was attempting to enter the freeway.
The son was understandably emotional, and just like that an off-duty nurse rushed to the scene and took over CPR. Shortly after, another nurse, this one in uniform, pulled over and assisted the other nurse; one pumped the victim’s heart, the other applied mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
In one of the most heartfelt moments, another woman assumed the role of caregiver, doing nothing but assisting the grieving son as much as she could, including hugging the stranger and offering kind consolation. Numerous other passersby like myself were standing just wanting to help; for example, I saw the nurse in uniform running to the scene and announced her arrival.
I kept peering back to Silver Lake Road for what seemed like a long time, waiting for first responders. Finally an ambulance turned down the ramp, and I directed the driver to the scene — although I’m sure it was apparent to the ambulance driver, I like everyone else just wanted to help as much as I could.
Paramedics took over and lifted the victim onto a stretcher and into the ambulance. The caregiver didn’t stop for a second, and the man was asking if his mother was alive. Paramedics were still attending to his mother inside the ambulance when I drove away.
I’m not sure about her condition. What I do know is that, if she survived or not, there were many heroic, caring people who tried everything in their power to help save this woman’s life.
Here’s another interesting fact. The son and mother were of Asian descent and he had an accent, indicating they are immigrants. The point of this column is by no means to raise politics, but I can say with certainty that race bore no factor in people wanting to help.
This was simply an instance of humans helping humans. And it was an uplifting reminder that, regardless of people’s differences, sometimes the worst things that happen can bring out the best we have to offer — caring and compassion for each other.
Contact Aaron Brom at [email protected]