ShopRite customer who suffered cardiac arrest thanks store manager for life-saving CPR

Marcus Solis Image
Thursday, November 16, 2023
Man goes in cardiac arrest, saved by ShopRite employee
Marcus Solis has the latest on a man who was saved by a ShopRite employee.

FAIRFIELD, Connecticut (WABC) -- Thanksgiving may be around the corner, but Frank Darby is already in a thankful mood.

The 66-year-old's reality couldn't have been more different two weeks ago at a local ShopRite supermarket, where he went into sudden cardiac arrest.

Thankfully, employees at the market stepped in and saved his life.

"It's fun having a second chance at life, and it's actually pretty fitting with Thanksgiving coming up," said Darby to Eyewitness News. "All the doctors said the same thing, like whole lot of good scenarios came out."

He was in the bottle return area when two cart workers saw him fall and radioed for help.

"Where he was positioned in front of the first machine, it seems fortunate to me because if he was further on in the inside, the two cart guys that was walking by wouldn't have saw him," said Jimmy Rotunda, store manager.

For fellow store manager Alex DaCosta, the suddenness of it all was a cause for concern.

"At first we thought it was a slip and fall," he said. "It was a bit of a panic."

Grocery manager Freddy Cruz was too shy to speak on camera, but showed no hesitation in that scary moment - applying chest compressions until first responders arrived.

"It was a team effort," said Rotunda. "I'm really proud of the guys. I think they did a fantastic job."

It wasn't just a lucky break that someone at the supermarket was able to help.

The family that owns the market makes sure there are 20-25 employees at each of their locations who are CPR certified, meaning on any given shift there are four or five workers trained in the life-saving technique.

"This is our fourth save that we've had in our store," said Tom Cingari, VP of the Cingari Family ShopRite site. "We take a lot of pride in making sure that everybody is certified every year."

As for Darby, the radio host and former longtime golf coach at St. John's University and Manhattan College didn't miss a show. He was fitted with a pacemaker and is feeling better.

"Nobody more grateful than me," said Darby. "I've been that way my whole life. I kind of feel like I'm part of the ShopRite family now."

An early Thanksgiving indeed.


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