My dad is Superman

The morning of the 3rd Saturday in May of 2008 was not any different than any other 3rd Saturday of any other month for Joe Fernando. A librarian by profession, Joe was also a trained first aid support volunteer. More like a custom out of habit, Joe got up late, prepared himself for the day ahead. After washing his car, and feeding Mitch, his pet dog, Joe called Emily, his daughter downstairs and asked her if she was ready. “As always,” was the reply. It was a father-daughter ritual they had. Every 3rd Saturday of the month, Joe and Emily would go out somewhere. Usually it was the local park or the zoo. But today Joe decided for the newly opened amusement park nearby. Little did he know that today would be the most different Saturday he could have concocted.

When Fun Turned Sour


The amusement park was really a fun place to be. The crowd seemed energetic and eager, and Emily looked happy with all the various rides, shops, and games all around her. This made Joe happy too. Joe was looking at Emily’s happy face when suddenly Emily screamed. Her eyes were thrust wide open and she seemed to be in total shock. Looking in the direction she was staring at, Joe saw it too. A man, had fallen off a ride and landed hard on the concrete ground below, and wasn’t moving at all.


“Surely he cannot be dead”


Joe was shocked. He had seen accidents in the past, but nothing could have prepared him for this, not with Emily around. However, being a first aid trainer, his mind was already conjuring up his first aid skills. He quickly ran to where the man laid. The man was middle aged, must have been around 40, heavily built. His shoulders and chest seemed to have taken a strong hit, as some abrasions and cuts indicated. He checked the man’s vital signs first. The man wasn’t breathing, and neither was there a sign of any pulse. It had hardly been 2 to 3 minutes since the fall, “surely, he cannot be dead,” was Joe’s thought. He concluded that the man must have gone into a sudden cardiac arrest due to the trauma. Time was running out quickly.


A Life to be Saved


Joe knew that if there were any chances of saving the man, CPR was his only hope. He told a nearby person to immediately call 911, and prepared himself for the standard CPR procedure. He asked the crowd to give him and the severely injured man some breathing space. After adequately supporting the man’s spine and neck, he alternated between the 30 chest compressions and 2 mouth-to-mouth respirations he knew could possibly save a life. At first nothing seemed to be happening, but Joe was not set to lose hope. After a few more compressions, to Joe’s immense relief, the man’s heart started pumping again and the man started breathing.


“I have always believed in angels”


Remo Smith, the man who fell out of the ride and almost perished, says that when he slipped out of the protective harness, his first thought was that an angel would catch him. And angel did, with the name of Joe. Not only was Joe a life saver, but a hero too, inspiring life and determination in everyone, with his CPR coming in as the savior of the day. And Emily said, “I knew my dad was Superman.”


Benjamin Roussey