‘He saved my life.’ Fairfield ShopRite manager hailed as hero after SiriusXM host has heart attack
Frank Darby is a frequent customer at ShopRite of Fairfield.
“I love ShopRite. I come here all the time,” Darby said with a smile.
Now the SiriusXM PGA Radio host has another reason to visit his local supermarket—to see the store's grocery manager. Fredy Cruz was too shy to talk on camera, but Cruz’s actions earlier this month spoke volumes.
“It's kind of amazing to have a hero because he saved my life,” Darby told News 12.
On Nov. 3, Darby made a stop at the bottle return area.
“I remember putting four or five bottles in, and the next thing I remember my wife was yelling at me from St. Vincent’s Hospital saying, ‘Do you know who I am?’”
Security camera footage shows what happened. Darby had a heart attack and passed out. It was fortunate he was at a machine close to the door because a couple of cart attendants saw him on the ground and radioed inside. That's when Cruz responded and began CPR.
“Fredy didn't hesitate, started giving chest compressions immediately,” said store manager Alex DaCosta. “It totally epitomizes his character. He's a total team player. He knew what he had to do, and he did it.”
DaCosta said Darby regained consciousness briefly as Cruz did chest compressions, which he continued until paramedics arrived and took over care. But it wasn't just luck that Cruz knew CPR. It's policy at all of the Cingari Family ShopRite stores.
“It’s something we take pride in, having our guys certified and trained,” DaCosta explained.
He said on any given shift, there are five to 10 employees working who are CPR-trained and certified. And this situation with Darby wasn’t the first time staff used those skills. DaCosta says it’s the fourth save at the store over the past several years.
“I think it's vital that companies do this,” DaCosta shared.
Darby was rushed to the hospital where he said doctors determined the cardiac episode was “an electric scenario.”
“They put a pacemaker in me and got me up into intensive care, and I stayed there for about five or six days. They took really good care of me,” Darby told News 12.
In fact, the trip to the emergency room didn't stop Darby from hosting his weekly golf show on “On Course.” Darby said he’s in his 10th year and never missed a broadcast, so he did it from the ICU. Since then, Cruz has been a topic on the show, even making a brief appearance.
“You know, he was on a mission. He said, ‘I'm not going to let anything happen. We’re going to get this done right here,’” Darby explained.
There’s a lot for Darby to be thankful for this holiday season.
“It's kind of like a strange feeling, you know? I got a second lease on life right now,” Darby told said. “I have a sweet little 14-year-old and a great wife, so I’m glad I’m still here for them.”