Car Sinks, But Driver Rescued

See postscript at the end of the newspaper article.

The article mentioned two other life-saving incidents. They both occurred shortly after I moved to Charleston in 1974.  At the time, I was employed by the Charleston County Department of Social Services. The pool incident happened at a social work convention in Charlotte. I was bored to death with the first-day seminars and decided to spend the second morning at the hotel pool. There were only two people there, myself and a stranger who was also an attendee at the convention. He was sitting in a deck chair at the opposite end of the pool mixing drinks from a small cooler.

Totally inebriated, he got up from his chair, crumpled to a sitting position at the edge of the pool, and quietly slipped into the water. By now I was watching him closely. After he spent an inordinate amount of time under the water I stood up for a quick look-see. He was lying face down, spread-eagled on the bottom of the pool. I immediately jumped in, swam towards him, grabbed his shoulders, dragged him to the edge of the pool, and pulled him out of the water. He was passed out but breathing regularly so I put him in a chair and returned to the other side of the pool to settle in for a babysitting session. After about two hours, the dude woke up, grabbed his cooler, and stumbled off to his room.

I saw him the next day walking around the convention floor. Never said a word about what had transpired at the pool.

This incident ties in with the next lifesaving effort mentioned in the article because this time it was my DSS supervisor. She called me into the office after the Charleston contingent returned from the Charlotte convention to question me about my absence from the meetings on the day I rescued the unknown guy. I tried to tell her about the lifesaving incident but she seemed both unmoved and skeptical.

Soon thereafter, the employees in my department all gathered for lunch at a cafeteria across the street from the Old Citadel Building where the DSS was then located. At least 15 people were in our group so we put together four small tables. A few minutes into the meal, my supervisor (who was sitting directly across from me) jumped up…wildly waving her arms, slapping her chest, and turning a bright shade of purple. All the other folks in our party were hollering and screaming for help but nobody knew what to do…except for me.

I was trained in the Heimlich Maneuver and went to the other side of the table where I gathered her collapsing figure and applied quick pressure to the base of her frontal rib cage. She projectile vomited a piece of liver the size of my thumb, followed by a meteor shower of caramelized onions.

Regarding the newspaper article, there is more to the story: After being questioned at the scene by Chief Reuben Greenberg, I hopped back into my van and headed home. It was a cold February evening and I was shivering and covered with pluff mud. I knocked on the back door and my wife Leslie didn’t bat an eye when she saw me. About five hours later, her water broke and we were on our way to Mt. Pleasant, where she gave birth to my youngest daughter, Cori.

All in a day’s work. A very busy and eventful day. February 6-7, 1989.

To be fair, my own life was saved two times in 1973, so what goes around comes around.

        No photos of the actual rescue exist so I staged this reenactment.





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