A HERO firefighter has been reunited with the man whose life he battled to save – but thought had died.
Chris Kendall gave CPR to the victim of a roadside heart attack in June last year, but was wrongly told by police the man, whose name he never knew, had passed away.
Chris, 33, was stunned in November last year to get a text out of the blue from a man called Allan Hainey identifying himself as the heart attack victim and thanking him for saving his life.
Last night Chris, from Maidstone, Kent, met for the first time at the 60th birthday party of Allan, from Wishaw, North Lanarkshire.
A beaming Allan told Chris: “I’m so grateful. The doctors said to me that it was remarkable that I had survived, and that wouldn’t have been possible without what you did.
“The ambulance crew said I was the closest person to death they had ever seen after such a severe heart attack, but I made it through. I wouldn’t be here without Chris.”
Allan was travelling home from a holiday lodge last summer when he suffered an almost fatal heart attack.
Luckily, firefighter and former CPR instructor Chris spotted Allan being dragged from his car on the A1 near Cove, Scottish Borders.
Chris, who was living in Kincardine, Fife, at the time of Allan’s heart attack, stopped to deliver life-saving compressions for 15 minutes – to the tempo of Staying Alive by the Bee Gees.
Allan, then 59, had a myocardial infarction so severe that it blew three holes in his heart, and without Chris’ intervention it is unlikely he would have survived.
However, when Chris contacted police to find out what happened to Allan, he was told that he had passed away.
In fact, a very much alive Allan had spent 52 days in hospital recovering and having a pacemaker fitted.
The Police Scotland IT worker was so grateful that he tracked Chris’ number down to thank him.
Allan’s message, which Chris said came completely out of the blue, said: “Hi Chris, my name is Allan Hainey. On the evening of Sunday 25th June this year I had ‘a bit’ of a heart episode near the A1 and Cove village.
“You stopped, assisted and by all accounts from the doctors and surgeons at Edinburgh Infirmary, saved my life.
“My wife, family and myself will be forever grateful.”
Allan invited Chris to his 60th birthday on Saturday night at a private club in Wishaw – the same night as Chris’s 33rd birthday.
Allan’s wife of 38 years Margo Hainey, who was at the roadside with them when the terrifying events unfolded, said that Chris was now “part of the family”.
The three of them clearly share a powerful bond, and despite the emotional reunion were jubilant at being able to celebrate Allan’s milestone.
Firefighter Chris said: “It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s still very surreal to me, and it’s such a strange situation, but I couldn’t have wished for a better guy to have come across at the side of the road.”
And Allan, who spent five months in hospital going through a difficult recovery, said: “The only thing I regret is that I didn’t get in touch with Chris sooner, I would have liked if he had been able to visit me in hospital.”
A touching video captured the moment when Allan and his wife Margo opened his 60th birthday party by dancing to “Staying Alive” by the BeeGees.
The iconic song now holds a special meaning for the couple, after firefighter Chris kept the tempo of the song in his head while performing CPR on Allan at the side of the road.
Now both men are pushing for more people to learn CPR and Allan has arranged training for 900 employees at Police Scotland HQ.