CPR to a Stranger
I had an audition at a movie studio. I showed up at one of the entrances to sign in. There were numerous people in the small room I was in. A lady walked toward the exit door to leave. She went out of the door. As she left, out of the corner of my eye, I saw her take a few stutter steps. I turned toward her, she stuttered a little more, and then she fell face first into the concrete sidewalk without sticking her arms out to brace herself from the fall or anything. A pool of blood started forming on the concrete underneath her face. I looked around, and no one else had noticed that she fell. I notified the guards that were there. They looked at her bleeding on the ground, motionless, and said they weren’t allowed to help her for “liability reasons”. I said “WHAT!?” I went down toward her and turned her over. Her face was broken and a mask of blood from the impact of the fall upon the concrete. I looked at her, and remember thinking to God “Okay, God, if this is the moment you’re going to pick to give me aids or some disease cuz I’m going to try to help this woman, then fuck you. You’re an asshole.” and I immediately started giving her mouth-to-mouth CPR – her blood all over her mouth and nose and everything.
I used to be a lifeguard, and had CPR training, but the intensity of the moment caused me to forget that, when giving someone CPR, you have to COVER THEIR NOSTRILS. I opened her mouth, took a deep breath, and blew as hard as I could. Because I wasn’t covering her nose, however, the air I breathed into her mouth forced every bit of blood and mucus to gush out of her nose and into my face and mouth. I spit out her blood from my mouth, covered her nostrils this time, and continued giving her mouth to mouth. I alternated mouth to mouth with chest compressions until an ambulance arrived and they took over.
I called around and found out what hospital they had taken her to and showed up to see if I could talk to her see how she was doing.
I was told she did not make it. She died.
I decided to leave my name and number in case any family called or came by for her so that they could at least possibly have some closure knowing what happened, and know that someone had tried to help her when she was in trouble.
I received a call from her family, and was invited to her memorial service. I was honored to have been invited, and decided to attend.
It was a a silent movie venue – which was really very neat. While there, various people went up and spoke about the lady and who she was – which I thought and felt was very fascinating to hear about the personality of this person whom I had never known.
After everyone had gone up and talked, the person overseeing the ceremony took a deep breath and said “Now, ladies and gentlemen, this is the moment that will be the most difficult for all of us here.”
. . . and he went on to begin introducing “the last person to see her alive . . . a stranger who saw another human being in need, and jumped to help . . . ”
Before I knew it, and totally unbeknownst to me, I was actually called up to the front of the stage to speak in front of everyone who was there – all the friends and family of the woman – and . . . and just . . . speak . . . talk about . . . something . . .
I, of course, was at an immediate loss since I had no idea who the woman was.
She was older, but the photo on the pamphlet was of a very, very pretty lady – a beautiful face.
I started speaking about how ironic it is . . . that we live in such a huge, metropolitan city, with one of the biggest populations in the U.S. (I live in Los Angeles), yet . . . for all the many people that are here . . . there is a LOT of anonymity . . . and people DON’T go out of their way to help one another . . . a huge paradox . . . So many people, yet we’re all alone.
I didn’t know the lady . . . but I felt connected to her . . .
and as I started speaking about her . . . it was very, very strange, because up until that point, the ceremony had actually been quite joyous and happy (everyone that went up and spoke about her mentioned how she was such a joyous person, so we should all celebrate this occasion and NOT be down about anything) . . .
as I started speaking about this woman I had never before known, it was very weird because . . . I started feeling this incredible welling up of very real emotion coming up through me that, try as I did, I simply could not keep down . . .
and I started bawling in front of this entire group of strangers about a woman I had never met in my life before that time.
And the entire group . . . ended up starting to cry . . .
I felt kind’ve . . . guilty I guess for kind’ve turning the entire ceremony from one of overall jubilation . . . to one of crying and heaviness (I tend to do that to most rooms I walk into it feels) . . . but . . . well . . .
I cannot say I wish I wouldn’t have had that experience.
It helped me see (even more than I already do) that, for all the b.s. and horror and selfishness in our lives, on this planet . . . we are creatures with a lot of love . . . inside us . . .
It seems difficult to show it and express it sometimes . . . but it’s there.