Striving To Save A Stranger

Compassion Quote by Cheryl Strayed

[courtesy of]

I’ve tried writing this post numerous times over the past few days, but honestly wasn’t sure what to say.  So here goes; I’ll give it my best try.

This past Sunday was Mother’s Day here on this side of the ‘pond’. My mom came down to Chicago from Canada to visit for the weekend.  The trooper that she is, we decided to take the train home instead of a taxi. I say this because for those who aren’t used to traveling by train in a large, American city it can be somewhat overwhelming at first.

With luggage in tow, we were but a few stops away from home when the train pulled into a station, but didn’t leave for the next one.  Mom and I were chatting away, so my attention wasn’t focused on how long we were sitting at the stop.

The doors to each train car remained open, and our chat was broken by a woman frantically approaching the car yelling, “Is there a nurse on board?” No one said a word, so the woman moved onto the next car.  I told my mom there must be a medical emergency somewhere on the train.  This is something that happens once in a while, so I didn’t pay too much attention to the situation, although both my mom and I remarked that we hoped everything was okay.

The same woman searching for a nurse in each car came back to ours again, but this time she asked if anyone knew CPR.  I paused for about a second, hesitant to say that I knew CPR, as it had been so long ago when I learned it I didn’t know if I would remember how to do it.  All at once I found myself saying, “I know CPR; mom, I’m going!” My mom said, “I know it too!” We both ran down the platform where someone gestured which car to go into.

A man was laying on the train car floor, sprawled out, as a fellow passenger was performing CPR on him.  I took over and began compressions as best as I could.  “COME ON SIR, STAY WITH ME, STAY WITH ME!!”, I heard myself yelling to the man on the floor.  It was as if I was on some kind of auto-pilot; I can’t remember a lot of details, only that I just kept repeating the compressions and praying to God this man would be okay.  I recall putting my hand close to the man’s lips to see if I could feel his breath; I couldn’t.  My mom took over and was relentless in her energy to try to save this man’s life.  We took turns until paramedics arrived.

Everyone was asked to clear out of the train car, so with adrenaline the likes of which I have never felt before, I went back to the platform with my mom. A couple of men came up to us; one of them was Jeremy.  He told us that he too had performed CPR on the man. Jeremy mentioned that he had been in the same train car with the man (who he thought had been sleeping).  With headphones on, Jeremy said he heard a huge, “THUD” and saw the gentleman fall onto the floor.  Someone called 911, and pushed the emergency button to reach the train’s operator.  As we discussed what was happening, the other gentleman standing close by realized we had attempted to revive the man.  He thanked us for what we had done.

Here we were, complete strangers, and he thanked us.  What an incredibly bizarre feeling to be thanked for doing something that all of us should be willing to do; that is, try to save the life of a fellow human being.

I felt strange, as if I was somewhat confused by this remark.  Jeremy told us that he too had hesitated for just a second before volunteering to perform CPR, as he wasn’t sure he remembered how to use it either.  But he did use it, and like my mom and me, he so fiercely wanted to save the man’s life.

After passengers were rerouted to shuttle buses, it was only my mom and I who were left standing on the platform, waiting for paramedics to bring some good news out of the train car.  A Chicago Police Department (CPD) Officer approached us and took our names and contact information while we provided the ‘what we saw and what we did’ statements.  A few minutes later, we saw the paramedics coming out of the train car with the ill man on a stretcher, tubes protruding from his left arm and mouth.  My mom and I both thought this might be a positive sign; perhaps he would be okay after all.

But he wasn’t.  As we found out later, the man had passed on.  He could have very well been gone when Jeremy saw him earlier and thought he had been sleeping.  A lovely CPD officer called us later that afternoon.  She wanted to thank us for our attempts to save the man’s life.  She said she appreciated what we had done.  I told her that I felt to help another person was the right thing to do.

I feel weird; you know, as if I was part of something that I was supposed to be part of, and yet I had no control over the outcome.  I think I feel helpless.  I didn’t make any difference at all to help this man, and yet, part of me knows that it was his time to go.

I want to say this, though:  to Jeremy, I applaud your willingness to step up and do what you did.  You were right there when the man fell on the floor. With a train car filled with passengers, you stood up and tried so hard to revive this fellow human being.  A gentle, sincere soul you are, Jeremy.  It was an honor to meet you.  Mom, you ran to this man’s aid with me.  You didn’t stay back, or stop when you saw the man laying on the floor.  You literally got down on the floor and gave it all you had to try to save the man.  What a beginning to your Mother’s Day weekend in Chicago!

To everyone reading this post:  please consider taking a CPR course; if you do, I pray you never need to use what you learn.

To the man who left this world that day:  Bless you, sir; I hope your travels are made of love and light.  God Speed.

Compassion Dove Flying

[courtesy of]

  39 comments for “Striving To Save A Stranger

  1. May 16, 2017 at 9:27 am

    Wow. God bless you Cher, the rest of the crew who tried to save this man. The world has so many beautiful people.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 16, 2017 at 9:30 am

      Ah, John, I am truly humbled and super grateful by your thoughtful words. I literally have tears in my eyes as I write this. My mom, Jeremy, and the other fellow and I really tried so hard and felt as if we had done all we could. Thank you so much for your thoughtful words, John! Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

      • May 16, 2017 at 9:37 am

        Your so welcome Cher, big hug from Vegas. ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

      • May 16, 2017 at 10:05 am

        Received with thanks and back to you from Chicago! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  2. May 16, 2017 at 9:37 am

    Sometimes the world seems so uncaring that it does make a difference when somebody cares. Even if you couldn’t make a difference to that man, just trying to help did. And as a special Mother’s day present, you proved to your mom that she did a great job in raising a caring human being 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 16, 2017 at 10:05 am

      Trent, thank you soooo much for your incredibly thoughtful and kind words. Bless you! I’ll be sure to tell my mom to read your comments; and she is an incredibly caring person!! Thank you! Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

      • May 16, 2017 at 10:41 am

        You are welcome. I’m sure your mom is incredibly caring.

        Liked by 1 person

      • May 16, 2017 at 10:49 am

        She truly is, Trent! Cher xo

        Liked by 1 person

      • May 16, 2017 at 10:42 am

        (Oh, and I did take CPR ages ago. I might need a refresher…)

        Liked by 1 person

      • May 16, 2017 at 10:54 am

        That is great to hear on all accounts, Trent! I’m you g to do the same! Cher xo

        Liked by 1 person

  3. May 16, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    Wow! That is amazing and makes me thinking about learning CPR. You and your mom are wonderful people 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 16, 2017 at 12:48 pm

      I think it is great you are considering CPR, Teri! Ah, bless! Thank you for that! I know Jeremy and the other fellow were amazing responding immediately and I am very grateful to have met them. Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

  4. May 16, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    I got chills, Cher, reading your words and feeling what you must have been feeling!! I, too, say “Thank You!” It would have been easy to not get involved…but you followed your heart and I am proud of You! (And your Mom!)
    Much light and love your way!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 16, 2017 at 1:51 pm

      Oh Lorrie, bless you and thank you for your wonderful comments! It’s interesting because a friend of mine said the same thing you did about following your heart. I believe that is what we did that day. Blessings to you and thank you again for your thoughtful words, dear Lorrie! Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

  5. May 16, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    I do understand, why it could be difficult to write this post, Cher. If the man did survive, it would have been easier, I’m sure. Very well done of all of you. We never know, when the day is our last, but it is always good to try to help, when we can. One day it can save a live.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 16, 2017 at 1:53 pm

      Hi Irene, thanks some much for your kind words and understanding. I must admit it had been difficult not to think about it. I know that it was his time and yet I felt so incredibly helpless as well. Thank you again for you kind comments, dear Irene! Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

  6. May 16, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    Well done to you all – I’m sorry the patient didn’t make it.
    I have done CPR training as part of the first aid course I have to do as a Scout Leader – fortunately I’ve never had to use it (yet). The British Heart foundation put this advert on UK television – Well worth a watch 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 16, 2017 at 3:02 pm

      Why thank you so much and I shall check it out! I’m glad you have CPR training and I hope you never find yourself having to use it. Looking forward to seeing the advert! Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

    • May 16, 2017 at 4:15 pm

      Oh I just watched the advert! It is absolutely BRILLIANT! I’m going to share this link. Thank you so much for providing it here! Such a great way to remember what to do: Staying Alive the song could save lives! Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Barb
    May 16, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    Cher, I took CPR back in the old days at U of M. I always wondered if I would be upto the job if the need arose. That was before my knee replacement. Now I physically am unable to kneel. Thanks to you and your Mom for doing this! What a memorable Mother’s’Day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 16, 2017 at 7:08 pm

      Ah, did you, Barb? Well, I know you and if you were in a situation that you physically apply CPR you’d do it. I know that for sure. Thank you so much for saying that, Barb. Mom and I gave it all we had as well as the other fellow and Jeremy. I still felt helpless though. Oh yes, definitely a memorable Mother’s Day, Barb!! Cher xo


  8. May 16, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    Bless you for your courage, Cher, and so sad. It’s always a great thing to step up and show kindness and concern… sadly, there’s a lack of it these days. But it is there, and here is the proof. I took CPR way back when and I really do need to upgrade it. It’s a simple course, but it can be so vital. Thank you for restoring some faith. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 16, 2017 at 7:23 pm

      Ah, thank you so much, Steven!! Oh yes, I think it is vital to take the CPR course or to upgrade. I hear that only compressions are now used, no breaths. It wasn’t until the paramedics came that I realized how many people were standing by and watching. I am not blaming them at all; they probably did not know CPR, but my mom and I are hoping that perhaps by witnessing what happened, maybe they will look into CPR training. Thank YOU, Steven; I am very grateful for your kind words! Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

  9. May 16, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    Everyone did everything they could. Few people are actually saved because of CPR but that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t try. All of you did a wonderful thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 17, 2017 at 5:01 am

      Thank you, my dear; we sure did try and I agree that we should always try! Cher xo


  10. May 24, 2017 at 10:52 am

    I have tears in my eyes reading this. Bless you for helping this man out in his time of need. You hesitant to act because you are not sure. I have had people appreciate my help and others just lay into me for helping out in their time of need.

    This hits me hard because my dad and I saved my mom many years back in the wee hours of the morning – without our help she would not have made it – she almost did not make it to her 50th birthday and is now in her 70’s.

    Take Care 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 24, 2017 at 11:07 am

      Ah, bless you my dear. What an amazing thing you and your dad did for your mother. I am so grateful to you for telling us about this. Another reason why I encourage everyone to take a CPR course (even to refresh your skills if you’ve taken it before). Thank YOU! Cher xo


      • May 24, 2017 at 2:22 pm

        It is good to know CPR, Heimlich and basic first aid. I have a first aid kit in my truck.

        Liked by 1 person

      • May 24, 2017 at 4:06 pm

        Yes, you are right; it certainly is important! That’s good you have a first aid kit in your truck!


  11. June 9, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    Such a lovely story of help for a stranger, Cher, when there is so much negativity around us. Thanks for sharing and doing what you could. Also, onto something different, an amazing photo of Chicago, it looks wonderful. For some reason Chicago has always sounded so exotic and magical from overseas. So thank for all your stories of this fabulous city.

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 9, 2017 at 12:36 pm

      Hi there, Mo! It’s lovely to see you! Ah, bless; thank you so much for your kind words. We did what we could do and I still cannot shake it from my thoughts to be honest. Oh did you, Mo? Well it really is quite an incredible place! Thank you, my dear! I shall keep on the lookout for interesting places to photograph! Cher xo


  12. June 22, 2017 at 7:31 am

    Such an inspiring read, Cher. Thanks for sharing it and being willing to help – that’s the kind of story we need to hear more of.

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 22, 2017 at 9:48 am

      Ah, Ruth! Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful words. My mom reads the comments so I’m sure she will be grateful for your words as well! Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

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