A Chicago cop saved a toddler's life on Saturday. Officer Ed Pakula just happened to be driving by a fast food restaurant when the boy's father flagged him down. The 21-month-old had stopped breathing and his eyes were rolled to the back of his head. Paklua quickly administered CPR, and to everyone's relief, the child finally revived.
Whenever I read a rescue story like this, I always picture the hero just sort of flexing his muscles and saying "all in a good day's work!" before flying off (or driving away in his car). But this story is different. Pakula's hands were shaking from the experience, and it's not just because a child almost died in his arms. It's because Pakula is the father of a toddler near the same age.
Pakula later said that hearing that toddler wail in the hospital was "the greatest noise in the world." Pakula has pulled people out of burning buildings, but this is the first time he'd so directly saved someone's life -- and the experience almost hit too close to home. Pakula has a 29-month-old child of his own at home.
Can you imagine trying to save a child your own child's age? The pressure -- and the empathy! Reportedly Pakula's first attempt at CPR didn't quite work. He had to try again. I'm sure anyone would have made that second attempt, but as a father, I imagine Pakula would have considered giving up even after a third or fourth time unthinkable.
And I bet, when Pakula came home to his family that night, he hugged his own little toddler extra tight.
Do you know how to administer CPR? Have you ever saved a child's life?
Image via Newtown graffiti/Flickr