"Did you call 911 last March 17?" said a sign posted at a Hollywood intersection. "You saved my life. Please call me." The sign had been placed there by Leon, a retired judge who suffered a massive heart attack while driving that day. After being told that somebody had called 911 and performed CPR on him, he went on a mission to find and thank his rescuer as soon as he had recovered, the Los Angeles Times reports. After posting the sign and knocking on doors, the 71-year-old found two women who had seen him "totally out of it and turning purple and dying" and encouraged a woman who had begun CPR. With the help of phone records, Leon was able to track down Susie Powell, the woman he owes his life to.
"Someone saw me and intervened, and I was so touched," Leon says. "This is supposed to be an anonymous metropolis, where nobody connects." Powell, a legal assistant who was on her way to work, tells the LAT that when she tried to make eye contact with the other driver at the intersection, she saw that Leon was slumped in his seat and knew she had to help. Following the 911 dispatcher's instructions, she pulled him from the car and began performing CPR, even though some bystanders were yelling at her not to touch him. When they met for lunch, she initially told him he didn't need to do anything to thank her. Leon, however, supports a nonprofit that helps the poor in the Guatemalan city of Xela and Powell, who studied Spanish in the city, was delighted by his idea of sponsoring a child's education in her name. He now plans to host a gathering for everybody involved in saving his life that morning. (When a woman at a senior living center in Ohio began choking on food, Dr. Heimlich himself performed a life-saving maneuver.)