View of produce aisle in a store

Another reminder that nurses are everyday heroes

His day job is working as a registered nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at Community Hospital South, but off duty Marcus Guajardo is a husband and father. Like so many of us, he runs family errands after work. However, one shopping trip changed the life of a stranger forever and has many people calling Marcus a hero.

If I could help, I wanted to

After picking up everything on his list, Marcus approached the checkout line. His wife called with one more request: diapers for their little one. Marcus grabbed a package from the shelf and made his way to a cashier. While waiting in line, he saw two Meijer employees run to a wall, detach an AED and sprint away. From his vantage point, Marcus could see a person lying on his back in a nearby aisle.

His instincts kicked in. He immediately took action, running to the stranger on the ground.

“My body just took over,” Marcus explained. “I saw someone was in need of help, and, if I could help, I wanted to.”

The stranger’s color improved, and he began to take occasional breaths. A store employee had called 911, and Marcus continued compressions until firefighters arrived and hooked the man up to a monitor.

After he had given his report to the first responders, Marcus suddenly remembered what brought him to Meijer in the first place—groceries and diapers. He felt terrible for leaving his items on the conveyor belt without offering a single word of explanation to the cashier, and he quickly headed in the direction of the checkout lines to apologize.

When he got there, he was surprised to see that Meijer management had paid for and bagged his groceries out of overwhelming gratitude for his assistance to their customer. Meijer employees, who had been given CPR classes, thanked him for his quick thinking in an emergency.

When you feel you’ve made a difference, that’s the best feeling

Later that week, Marcus was at work and learned the Meijer customer was a patient at Community South. He went to visit him and explained who he was. Instantly, the patient became tearful as he shook Marcus’ hand, and the man’s wife gave him a long hug and thanked him profusely through her grateful tears.

“I’m very passionate about what I do. When you feel you’ve made a difference, that’s the best feeling, and it keeps you motivated,” said Marcus, who earned his nursing license three years ago after making the jump from a career in business and banking.

The right place at the right time

For Marcus, this particular situation was all about being in the right place at the right time. “If my wife hadn’t called for diapers, I would have already been out of the store at the time this customer needed help,” Marcus said, grateful for the opportunity to help a member of his community in his time of need.