Last week the Chicago Tribune reported the chill-inducing story of a near drowning. A mother with three children had run upstairs for a minute to do something or other, and when she came back down, she found that her three children had escaped the house and were down playing by the riverbank. The youngest one, a toddler, was found lifeless in the river.
There the mother was holding her tiny body when Joel “Jay” Arnier, who was out fishing with a buddy, just happened to see them and jumped in to help. As a working paramedic with 20 years of experience under his belt, he knew just what to do when he saw the baby's blue skin and limp body. He performed CPR, and after a few minutes, they saw signs of life in her. He told the paper:
She cried a little bit, not a lot, and then I knew she was awake and alert to at least be afraid of her situation. Her limp arms that were hanging down there started reaching for her face.
The fire department arrived minutes later, and the girl was taken to the hospital where she was in stable condition. The girl's mother was able to give Arnier a hug and thank him for his help before she left for the hospital, but I bet she'll spend the rest of her life wondering how she can really express her gratitude. How do you repay someone for completely changing the course of your life for the better in a few minutes time?
It's a debt that simply can't be repaid, and Arnier isn't looking for payment anyway. He described what he did after his heroic rescue:
I went back to the boat and I told my friend, "I think we’re done fishing for the day. It’s the best thing I’ve pulled out of the river."
Amidst all the horrible headlines in the world, it's heartwarming stories like this that give us at least a little bit of faith in humanity (and perhaps a higher power) ... and a strong reminder to brush up on CPR skills.
How would you thank a stranger for saving your child's life?
Image via ashley BALSAM baz/Flickr