Janie Hall, 45, of Joplin, Missouri, was preparing for a date to remember. She had met a man through online meeting site Plenty of Fish and the pair were gearing up to enjoy lunch together at Kansas City’s Cheesecake Factory on April 7, 2017.
Speaking about the build-up to the date, Hall told People magazine in April 2017, “He contacted me and we talked for two weeks. I liked a lot of what he said. Social change is big for me and when he told me about his volunteer work, that really stood out to me. He volunteers at his grandchild’s school and he’s active with veterans groups in Kansas City.”
Following weeks of online conversation, the pair agreed to meet. The day seemed to be going well. Hall told People, “We had a wonderful meal and great conversation. They boxed our food and we continued to talk for 45 more minutes, chatting about family and friends.”
Things were going great on the date. And Hall thought little of it when her date began coughing. “We weren’t eating so I knew he wasn’t choking. I turned my head to the side to give him some privacy and then the next thing I knew there were dishes falling onto my side of the booth,” she recalled.
Things had taken a turn for the worse. Hall’s date stood up before collapsing onto the floor. Naturally, the distressed diner, along with server Becca Bartholomew, immediately dashed to see what had happened to the stricken man.
The pair found that the man’s eyes were glazed over and he had no heartbeat. Meanwhile, there was also blood coming from his mouth. “I checked and he had no heart rate so I began chest compressions and CPR,” said Hall. “I checked for a pulse again and he had a weak pulse,” she added.
While Hall was carrying out CPR, Bartholomew rushed to tell her colleagues and call an ambulance for the injured man. In a twist of fate, the server had not been due to work on the day in question, but her quick thinking ensured that medics rushed to the scene.
Speaking about Bartholomew’s assistance, Hall said, “This waitress appeared out of nowhere. She took control of the whole situation.” Bartholomew also performed CPR on the man as he lay on the ground. Meanwhile, another server timed the chest compressions.
Within ten minutes, medics had arrived on the scene. They connected a monitor to the man and detected faint heart activity. Hall went along with the ambulance crew and left her contact details so that the man’s family would be able to get in touch with her about the incident.
The manager of the restaurant contacted Hall on a number of occasions to check on the status of the man’s condition. It was clearly a worrying time for Hall, the man’s family and everybody involved.
The following day, Hall decided to call the hospital to check on her unfortunate date’s condition. She was relieved to find that he had pulled through the ordeal and was recovering. She also contacted the man’s daughter and the pair arranged for Hall to visit him in hospital a few days later.
When she arrived at the hospital, she found her date was looking well. “He looked amazing,” she said. “And he remembered everything about our conversation at the restaurant. I told him, ‘I never got to thank you for the meal,’ and he said, ‘Oh my God, you saved my life!’” she added.
While the man was in hospital, medics began running tests in a bid to reveal the cause of the incident. He was later released from the medical facility and sent home to recover from the harrowing ordeal he had suffered.
However, the man still had one more question for Hall. “He asked for a second date in the hospital,” she said. “I was extremely honored. What means the most to me is that he works on his health and wellness right now.”
But it seems that the pair wouldn’t be having much privacy for their encounter this time around. “The waitress wants to come along as well as his two daughters and his granddaughter. I definitely think we will have a group with us on our next date,” Hall told The Joplin Globe in April 2017.
Following the incident, Hall wanted to spread the message about the importance of learning CPR techniques which they may use one day to save a person’s life. “It is so easy to learn basic concepts of CPR,” she told People. “And it can save someone’s life.”
“My hope is that maybe somebody will hear this story and become CPR-certified or be quicker to respond because this happened so suddenly. I’m proof that you never know when you may need to know it,” she told The Joplin Globe.
Hall says that the incident has had a profound effect on her life. “When I sat across from him, he looked like the perfect picture of health,” Hall told People. “It made me realize how important every moment of our day is and how important it is for family to know how much we love them.”
We don’t know whether Hall and the man ever managed to make it past the second date. Either way, their encounter will undoubtedly be one which they will both remember for many years to come.
In the wake of the incident, Hall encouraged others to sign up for an American Red Cross CPR training course. Details of how to take part in the potentially life saving activity can be found on the organization’s website.