As a barista yelled, ““She’s having a heart attack!” about a middle-aged woman who had fallen out of her chair onto the floor, Staff Sgt. Mena Ibrahim took action.
He rolled the woman onto her back and tried to make her comfortable. He called 911 and explained the situation to the emergency operator, pointing out that he knew CPR, but his certifications had expired. The operator gave him the go-ahead, and for the next seven minutes, Ibrahim’s training kicked in.
“I put hand-over-hand at the center of her chest,” he said, “and beat as hard as I could to the rhythm of Staying Alive—that’s how I was trained.”
According to Ibrahim, his military training provided him with the necessary tools to handle the situation.
“They teach you to stay calm and cool in a stressful situation,” he said. “They teach you basic Soldier survival skills. We’re trained for these things. Distressed moments come, and your training kicks in.”
When the EMT rushed inside, Ibrahim moved out of the way and headed for the door, hearing the bleeps of defibrillators as he left the shop.
“Being a Soldier definitely comes with responsibility,” said Ibrahim, referring to the many expectant eyes he recalls seeing in the shop, as he was the only person there in a uniform when the incident occurred. “For us it’s 24/7 professionalism all the time. It’s something we live by. Also, you see your battle buddy—or just a fellow human being—gasping for air, and you go and help. It’s second nature.”
Ibrahim said he does not know the condition of the woman but he hopes his response helped to save her life.