PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Ask Thomas Hughes about what happened on Aug. 5, and he draws a blank.
“To be honest with you, I have no idea," said the Port St. Lucie father of two.
Hughes spent 10 years working at the Publix on St. James Drive, but on that summer day after helping a customer, he went back to his work station and fell to the floor.
A 911 caller tells the dispatcher, "I just had a stock clerk pass out.” “We need someone for CPR.”
Fortunately, that someone also happened to be in the store.
"I just went right down and my body took over and began performing CPR on him," said Brittany Carlo, an Assistant Customer Service Manager.
Carlo had just taken CPR training, a requirement that came with her recent promotion. She spent eight minutes working on Hughes until first responders came to assist. Carlo said it was very emotional and she didn't release how much energy she used until it was over.
“I owe her my life. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be speaking with you today," said Thomas Hughes.
Wednesday, Carlo, Hughes, and first responders reunited at the St. Lucie Fire district meeting, where Carlo was given the Citizen Hero Award.
“And now I know I can do it and I really hope when the time comes for somebody else if they’re ever in that spot that they know they can do it," said Carlo.
“I think it’s amazing, I think she’s my guardian angel. I tell her that all the time," said Hughes, who had to retire after his health scare, but still goes back to the store where he worked regularly.
Thomas says Carlo will always have a special place in his heart, a heart that’s still beating thanks to his former coworker.