BERWYN, Ill. (WLS) -- A Glenview man who nearly died at Midway Airport one year ago instead celebrated his survival Sunday with a reunion with the strangers who worked together to save him.
Hutz Hertzberg was waiting for a flight with his wife and 8-year-old daughter on June 23, 2018, when he suddenly went into cardiac arrest.
"No pulse, no breathing, turning blue. Stiff as a board in very desperate shape," said Rick Yarbrough, one of the good Samaritans who saved Hertzberg.
There happened to be two nurses and emergency medical technicians in the terminal at that very moment.
"You don't think twice; it's an automatic response. You run to the area," said Bridgett Tyler, a nurse from Ohio.
The foursome instantly became a team, performing CPR and shocking Hertzberg's heart with a defibrillator - all while wondering if their patient would survive.
"I kind of felt sorry for her and their daughter because that would probably be the last time they saw him," Yarbrough remembered thinking.
But remarkably Hertzberg lived to thank his heroes in person one year later. His doctor said he's seen just three patients who suffered heart attacks outside of a hospital make full recoveries.
"It's an amazing thing that four people would jump in to help a complete stranger," Hertzberg said.
He's grateful to the whole group, but especially to Yarbrough's then 10-year-old daughter Micaela who was the first to alert police and her father to the situation. The impact is not lost on Yarbrough.
"That says a lot about kids nowadays; they watch us more than we think," he said. "Be willing to jump in and help people because the generation behind us is following us."
Glenview man reunites with strangers who saved his life at Midway Airport 1 year ago