Help Jim Recover From Helping Others

I have a friend in New Jersey that’s one of those ‘good guys’. He’s always thinking of others and has helped me out more than a few times. Now, I’m trying to help him out. Jim Reilly is a fun and caring guy. However, like so many, he got laid off from a great job, and he’s struggling week to week to pay the bills.

He was driving down Route 80 in New Jersey on the Fourth of July, and came upon an accident. It was bad – a car had crumpled into the guardrail – and no emergency vehicles were on the scene yet. So he pulled over to see if he could lend a hand.

Three other Good Samaritans also showed up – a Hispanic woman in her 30s, a Hispanic man in his 40s, and a young black man in his late 20s. They lifted the driver out of the car, a woman about 40 years old, and she was unconscious. They set her down on the grass. With cars whizzing by at 70mph, Jim checked under the car to see if it was leaking gasoline, when suddenly someone said, “Oh, my God, she’s turning blue, she’s turning blue.” And sure enough, the unconscious driver had stopped breathing.

So, while the young black man did chest compressions, Jim performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. He told me that his last CPR training was in 1979! He forgot to pinch her nose closed for the first few breaths, so the air just came out her nose. But he and the other guy figured it out, and after a minute or two, the woman’s stomach began rising & falling, and her color improved. Jim is Catholic, and he noticed a crucifix on a chain around the woman’s neck, so he grasped it and said a quick prayer. All the while, the other helpful folks directed traffic to go around the accident.

A couple of minutes later, a state trooper got there, followed by a health care worker who was apparently on her way home from a hospital, and then an ambulance. The trooper told everyone to get out of there so they wouldn’t get hit by a car.

Jim said that it was about three minutes later that it hit him: “Oh, damn. Coronavirus. Did I just get exposed to it - or something worse?”

Knowing Jim, I asked him if he ever did something like this before. He said, “Well, I did save someone on a subway platform, but that was a long time ago…”

So here’s where it stands: The woman survived, thanks to Jim, she was released from the hospital, and word is that she’s “remorseful and appreciative.” Jim went to his doctor, and he didn’t have coronavirus on the first test. BUT – you never know what you’ll get from a total stranger by the side of the road, and it takes a couple of months to find out if you got AIDS, herpes, hepatitis...

When he told me about it, he said he was inspired by the other Good Samaritans, the NJ State Police, the EMTs, the health care worker who stopped on her way home, and “whoever that man was wearing a “Baton Rouge Fire Department’ t-shirt” (in New Jersey!). He said something that really struck me: “It was like America jumped out of its cars to help that woman.” What he really wants is to give back to ALL of those people, because their actions gave him hope, which is in short supply these days.

I think Jim deserves some help. He doesn’t know if his act of kindness will end with a permanent health problem. We all want someone like him around, and he should know he’s appreciated.  I’ve sent him a couple hundred dollars, but he could use a lot more. Please help him if you can.

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