The Friday lunch was supposed to be a first date for Janie Hall. And for a while, it seemed to be going well.That is, until the man she was meeting in person for the first time fell to the floor dead at the Cheesecake Factory in Kansas City. The Joplin woman, along with the server, Becca Bartholomew, who wasn’t even planning on being at work that day, rushed into action and are being credited with saving the man’s life.
“We were just sitting there talking,” said Hall, 45, of her date, a man in his 50s. “The food had been picked up for at least 45 minutes. We were having a great conversation.”Then the man coughed three times, she said, and stood up to excuse himself and fell face-first to the floor.“It was like a light switch,” Hall said. “He was talking and then he was on the floor dead.” Hall said he had no pulse.A former respiratory therapist with experience in a trauma unit, Hall moved quickly and with the help of a restaurant patron rolled her date on his back. Then she began CPR and was joined by Bartholomew.“This waitress appeared out of nowhere,” Hall said. “She took control of the whole situation.”Bartholomew wasn’t originally scheduled to work that day, but she had taken an extra shift.Hall and Bartholomew took turns performing CPR on the man, and Bartholomew directed other workers at the Cheesecake Factory to call 911. Another worker counted seconds for them while they worked to bring the man back to life.
After about four minutes of CPR, a faint pulse returned. He took a breath, and the ambulance arrived.Because the man was still in the hospital at the time of the Globe’s interview, his name is not being used in this story. Hall, who had visited him on Monday, said he is recovering. Hall said Jackie Cockrill, the general manager of the restaurant, has called her several times to check on her and the health status of her date.“My hope is that maybe somebody will hear this story and become CPR-certified or be quicker to respond because this happened so suddenly,” Hall said.
In fact, she is encouraging people to sign up for a American Red Cross first aid and CPR course. “I’m proof that you never know when you may need to know it,” Hall said.Hall, who teaches business and health care online, also met her date online. But will there be a second date? “He has asked me out again. The waitress wants to come along as well as his two daughters and his granddaughter,” Hall said, laughing. “I definitely think we will have a group with us on our next date.”Red Cross classThe American Red Cross will offer the first aid/CPR class from from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 25, at 410 S. Jackson Ave. The cost is $90 to attend. There are only two open seats, however, online classes are available. Details: (417) 624-4411