Some changes are very small and wouldn’t change our life very much. However, other events could be very important and could change a person’s whole life, such as getting married having a baby, or losing someone special. The important event that changed my life is the day I had to step up and be a hero to someone else. People usually just ask me where the bathroom is or if we are hiring. Sometimes they ask where they can find the milk or bread. However on this day in late 2011 while I was working in the frontend at Russ’s Market. A very frazzled and shockingly pale young man stumbled into our store.
He slowly made his way to the closest check stand. As his gaze turned upward to the middle aged women working behind the counter he softly said “I’ve just been shot” and continued to slowly shuffle like a zombie further into the store. Being the Assistant Service Manager I was sitting in my office filling out some paperwork when over the p. a. system crackled “umcode 44 blue… ” I could hear the uneasiness in her voice, so I knew it wasn’t something small, but I had no idea what to expect. I sprang out of my chair and hurried to the frontend. On my way to the front of the store my mind was racing what could be the emergency.
Did someone get hurt, a shoplifter, or where we being robbed? I was so busy thinking I almost didn’t notice the young man stumbling towards me. I stopped dead in my tracks. He was wearing black pants and a white T-shirt which was covered in blood. A blank expressionless face with glazed over eyes, and a pale white face. Blood running down his right arm leaving, a crimson red trail on the white floor tiles behind him. He looked like he jumped straight out of one of George Romero’s zombie films. Every cell of my body lit up, but something in my head told me to play it calm. “Are you alright? ” I asked him.
He gave me no response he simply walked right past me as if he didn’t even know I was there. Still processing the whole situation I realized he was in complete shock, he was running on nothing but pure adrenaline. I immediately grabbed the closest chair and got him to sit down, as continued movement would only cause more blood to be pumped out. By this point there was beginning to be a crowd of onlookers gathering around us. I could hear people in the crowd telling one another to call 911. But no one was actually calling it, Just telling one another to call. I pulled out my cell phone and tossed it to my employee and told him to “call 911. I turned to another employee who was dumbfounded in the crowd.
“Get me the first aid kit, the blood pathogen kit, and the biohazard bags. ” I said, they quickly ran off. I turned and pointed to the third one standing in the crowd “Get as many clean rags as you can carry. ” Turning my attention back to the young man his eyes were becoming very heavy, the adrenaline was wearing off and he wanted to pass out. “Hey man I need you to stay awake ok? Helps on the way”. As I finished my sentence my co-workers returned one with the rags and the other empty handed, she couldn’t find the first aid kits.
I scanned the young mans body to find his injuries. There was a bullet wound in his upper right forearm and one on the right side of his chest, and one to his hand. He wasn’t coughing up blood or having trouble breathing so luckily it didn’t hit his lungs. Judging by the holes it was a small caliber handgun most likely a . 22, fairly common to get. The hand looked the worst, right between the thumb and pointer finger in his palm was hole, you could see right though it tendons and muscles just hanging out covered in blood. The smell of iron began to fill the air. Of all the days to be the only manager working it had to be today.
I pulled out my box cutter and cut a long strip from one of the rags and tied it around his upper bicep to help cut off blood flow to his arm and hand. Then I grabbed two more clean rags and using both hands placed them over his hand and chest and applied pressure to stop the bleeding. His face cringed in pain. “I know it hurts but we need to stop the bleeding. ” I told him. “What’s your name? ” I asked him still holding the now bloody rags to his wounds. “Landon” he replied “Do you know where you are Landon? ”
“No” he said still fighting his hardest to stay awake. “Your at Russ’s Market, my names Jacob” I explained to him. Do you remember what happen? ” “I got a call from a girl to come over. ” he said in pain. “Your girlfriend” I asked. “No. Some guy was waiting for me outside when I got there… ” “Do you remember what he looked like? ” “NoI just remember running and now I’m here,” he said. “That was smart running in here Landon, you’re gonna be ok we already called 911” I reassured him. Inside I kept screaming where are those paramedics! I had no idea if anything I was doing was even helping. I have no medical training what so ever, everything I’ve done so far I learned from watching the show “House”.
After what felt like an eternity waiting for help to arrive, I glanced over to see the firemen and EMT’s rushing down the isle. An instant wave of relief washed over me. I moved aside to let them begin their examination. As the paramedics loaded Landon on a stretcher and the crowd began to disperse I quickly went to the restroom to wash the blood from my hands. As the crimson red mixed with the soap and water and swirled down the drain of the bathroom sink, I realized eve though Landon was gone my excitement wasn’t over yet, for I knew in only minutes the press be here to shove there microphones and recorders in everyone’s face.
After cleaning up I went back to the spot where Landon was sitting and a few coworkers had started cleaning the area already. I rushed all around the store telling my associates not to talk to the press but refer them to me, which then I would refer them to Pat Raynald the current head of the company as was procedure. They complied and the reporters were extremely pushy for information, but eventually left after about 15 minutes of getting nowhere. Finally, everyone was gone, the store was cleaned and quiet and I finally had a chance to catch my breath. Just then Carl Davis our head of security walked through the doors.
Hey heard you guys had a little excitement tonight, well it looks like you got it all under control good job” he then turned and exited as quickly as he came. I remember thinking to myself “I don’t get paid enough to play field medic, that was not in the manual”. But when all was said and done, I got home and relaxed for a while and I have to admit I felt good, about everything. I mean I might have actually saved that kids life tonight. The following days I kept up on the kid’s condition, he would need some physical therapy but he was alive and well. I even got a nice thank you note from his family thanking me for everything I did for him.
I’ll never forget that night it’s always playing in my head like an old movie reel on repeat. But now I try to live my life to be that person I was that night everyday. According to the Webster’s dictionary of the English language the term “hero” has four definitions my favorite being the third reading “a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or idea”. As I mentioned in the beginning, Hero’s don’t have to have fantastical powers or ridiculous costumes, they just need to do what’s right, to be the hero, shining in the night. But maybe I’ll still make a mask.