When an Arizona woman unexpectedly went into cardiac arrest, four Macy’s employees jumped into action to save her life. Now, the breast cancer patient is lauding the four strangers as her “heroes.”
“These people breathed for me, they kept my heart alive. Without them I would not be here,” Mason tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “They’re my heroes.”
Mason, 58, is a stage IV terminal breast cancer patient and has an intrathecal pain pump, a device that helps her manage pain. On the morning of July 10, she went to an appointment to have the medicine in her pump exchanged that she says left her feeling “cloudy.” She later learned that there was an almost fatal mistake with her procedure.
“When they were pulling out the medicine, there was a mistake and some of the powerful pain medicine was released into my system,” Mason tells Yahoo Lifestyle. On her way home from the appointment, she remembered Macy’s was having their annual Christmas in July sale. But, Mason says she has little recollection of her drive to the Macy’s at Arrowhead Mall in Glendale, Ariz.
“I don’t remember driving the seven miles there,” Mason says. “Somehow I bought three pairs of shoes.”
While at the store, Mason stumbled over a rack when she overdosed on the medicine, causing her to go into cardiac arrest. When an employee on the floor made a store-wide announcement about a woman in distress, the store’s managers who were on-site for a mandatory meeting all immediately jumped into action.
“They came downstairs and I was not breathing, there was no pulse, no heartbeat. A team of four strangers immediately started CPR on me,” Mason says. Coincidentally, the managers had all received CPR training months prior and knew exactly how to handle the situation. With the Peoria Fire-Medical Department still en route to the scene, it was their swift emergency response that saved her life.
“It is our belief that the CPR conducted by the employees of Macy’s saved Reba’s life,” said Peoria Fire-Medical Captain Dave Lopez in a statement obtained by Yahoo.
Mason, who runs a non-profit called Reba’s Vision that provides free digital mammograms for women without health insurance and more, believes that divine intervention also played a role in her rescue.
“God had everything line up that day. Had I not gone to Macy’s and had I gone home, I would have died,” says Mason, adding that her husband, Steve, was at work at the time of the incident. “God told me my mission here wasn’t done. There were still women that needed my help and it wasn’t time.”
While Mason was in the ICU for two days following the incident, she wrote a post on Facebook detailing her account of what happened and expressing her gratitude to the entire Macy’s staff. One of the managers that performed CPR on her reached out to Mason and revealed that saving her life was truly a team effort.
“I initiated CPR and had a million thoughts going through my head.. what if I’m doing it wrong, what if I’m not tilting her head back enough,” one of the Macy’s managers named Claudette told Mason on Facebook. “But Princilla (At your service manager) helped me count and kept me calm, I continued to do it until help arrived and we worked great as a team.”
The store manager at Arrowhead Macy’s location said that their executives are trained in CPR specifically for situations such as this, adding that she was “delighted that they were able to successfully put their training into practice.”
“We are so proud of Princella, Rosy, Claudette and Amy, our Macy’s Arrowhead colleagues, for their quick action and heroism last week. We are especially grateful for Reba’s recovery,” said Colleen Liard, store manager at Macy’s Arrowhead.
After discovering the Macy’s staff life-saving response, Mason wrote a letter to Macy’s CEO about its employees’ heroism. While Mason was already a frequent Macy’s customer, she now says that they have a customer for life.
“My husband says he will never complain when he sees a bill from Macy’s ever again,” Mason says, laughing.
The Peoria Fire-Medical Department will hold a ceremony Wednesday morning to honor the four unlikely heroes. Although Mason herself does not remember their work to save her and has yet to meet her “guardian angels,” she says that she feels forever indebted to the employees.
“Had they not immediately started CPR, my husband would be without a wife and planning a funeral,” Mason tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “There is so much hatred and ignorance in this world about things that are going on and four strangers jumped into action to save my life without a thought. There’s not enough words or gratitude in the world that I can say to them.”
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