Next Bratislava K Mart story…
One afternoon, I was doing some grocery shopping and suddenly, a loud, high-pitched alarm shrieked through the store. Everyone dropped their groceries and headed to the exit door before I had the chance to ask any questions so I followed right behind them. This happened shortly after we arrived in Bratislava so my language acquisition was minimal however, I quickly “caught the drift” when I heard some Slovak women murmuring, “bomba.” Some words are international.
When we got outside, there were probably a hundred police scurrying here, there and everywhere, pushing people into each other. You can imagine the growing frustration amongst the crowd. It was a perfect recipe for disaster – get a large number of uninformed and frightened people responding to a bomb threat on a hot and stuffy afternoon, add a group of disorganized police officers and you end up with whole lot of disorder. Top it off with one trigger-happy officer who fires two shots into the air to get everyone’s attention and you’ve got complete chaos.
As I stood in the parking lot, squished from all directions, a man beside me literally sunk to the ground. I don’t know whether I was the only one who saw him collapse or it was a perfect example of the Bystander Effect but I quickly squatted down beside him in the tight crowd and checked to see if he was breathing.
If anyone has ever resisted taking a CPR course because the chance of ever using the procedure is so small, think again. It happens. Back in 1996, CPR also involved Artificial Respiration so I started doing exactly what I was taught to do. Despite the number of people around me, no one offered to help. I must have been administering CPR for over two minutes before a doctor identified herself and took over. I’m happy to report that this man survived. The doctor was a kind woman who went out of her way to tell me that I played a significant part in saving this man’s life. It felt good.
By the way, there was no bomb…it was just another day at K Mart!