Waitress pays it forward to boss who saved her life - | WBTV Charlotte

Waitress pays it forward to boss who saved her life

© CBS 5 © CBS 5
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

A Valley woman says she has her boss to thank for pulling her back from the grips of death.

One minute waitress Kerrie Cathey, 43, was laughing and joking and the next she was slumped in a booth, unresponsive, with her eyes rolling back into her head.

By the time Arena Sports Grill owner Steve Stephens got to Cathey, he knew there was something seriously wrong and they were running out of options.

"A few seconds later, she took one last breath and stopped breathing," Stephens said.

Stephens started CPR, a skill he hadn't refreshed since a high school class in 1982. He kept it up with the help of a customer until paramedics arrived 12 minutes later.

"I think that she died three times, or her heart stopped three times," Cathey's mother, Lauri Cathey, said.

"Ten to 15 seconds later, she drew one big breath with a bunch of shallow breaths again, and then it stopped again and I started compressions again," Stephens said.

"He saved my life. There's no doubt about it in my mind," Kerrie Cathey said.

"I could thank him a hundred, a million times and he is so modest that he acts like it's no big deal, so I want everyone else to know what he did," Lauri Cathey said.

"I didn't know what to do. I sent you a card, but this is for you. I'm paying it forward to you for saving my daughter's life," Lauri Cathey said.

Stephen said he feels like he did what anyone would do.

"I'm just so glad that he brought her back to me," Lauri Cathey said.

"He gave me a second chance," Kerrie Cathey said.

Kerrie Cathey now has a defibrillator implanted in her heart just in case. She's back to work again and it's nice to know that if she did happen to have another episode, her boss is ready to jump in.

Kerrie Cathey had no pre-existing heart condition and she never showed any symptoms. Doctors say in very rare cases, healthy people suffer sudden death heart failure. That is, unless a hero is nearby.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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