BYRAM – A ShopRite employee is being credited for saving the life of a customer after taking quick action on the job.
Becky Hand, an employee of the customer service department at the ShopRite in Byram, took quick action when she heard the “Code 99,” a call for all available associates with no additional details.
A female customer at checkout had passed out, and Hand, 19, of Stanhope, a three-year employee of the store, was by her side within seconds.
“I checked for a pulse to see if there was breathing,” Hand said. “And then I began compressions.”
At about that time, assistant manager Don Morgan arrived by her side with an automated external defibrillator, which he and several store employees are trained to use in an emergency situation.
But after about 30 seconds of Hand performing CPR, the customer opened her eyes, moved her head and began coughing.
“I had the unit opened and ready to go just as she took a couple of gasps of air,” Morgan said.
Hand is currently in her second year at County College of Morris, where she is studying to become a nurse.
“I think my training in CPR made me react so fast,” Hand said. “Maybe the mindset of a nurse made me do it, but you never know exactly how you will react until you’re in it.”
The customer was taken to the hospital by EMS.
“I’m not sure what happened,” Hand said. “But I’m glad the person is OK.”
Morgan credited Hand with her quick and heroic action.
“I greatly appreciate when you’re trying to run a store and there are a lot of people running around that (Hand) quickly got to her side,” Morgan said. “And I was right there on the other so once she got the air going we could make sure the customer had privacy.”
ShopRite spokesperson Karen O’Shea thanks all the employees who responded, including additional associates who contacted emergency personnel and helped direct traffic on the busy Friday afternoon in the store.
“ShopRite is very proud of our employees,” O’Shea said. “Their quick action speaks to their dedication as ShopRite associates.”
Though it did not need to be used, all ShopRite stores are equipped with AEDs, and employees are trained to use them in the event of an emergency, O’Shea said.