Call it Karma, a twist of fate, God’s master plan, or just a one-in-a-billion coincidence. The story of Kevin Stephan and Penny Brown is absolutely remarkable.
It all started in 2009, in the city of Lancaster, New York, where Stephan was a bat boy for his younger brother’s Little League team, NBC News reports. A player who was warming up accidentally hit Stephan in the chest with a bat, and Stephan’s heart stopped beating.
“All I remember is that I dropped the bat off, and all of a sudden just got hit in the chest with something, and I turned around and passed out,” Stephan recalled.
Fortunately for Stephan, Brown, a registered nurse, was in attendance. She was supposed to be at work that night, but at the last minute was given the day off to watch her son play. Brown began CPR on Stephan and resuscitated him, saving his life.
Fast forward to 2016. Brown was eating at the Hillview Restaurant in Depew, New York, when she began to choke on her food. Witnesses claim that patrons began screaming for someone to help.
“The food wasn’t going anywhere and I totally couldn’t breathe,” Brown said. “It was very frightening.”
According to NBC News, one of the restaurant employees happened to be a volunteer firefighter, and knew how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver. That employee was Stephan. He performed the Heimlich on Brown, thus saving her life, just as she had saved his seven years earlier.
“It’s almost unbelievable,” sad Stephan.
“The fact that it has been two individuals [that] helped each other out in a pretty dire situation — it’s pretty extraordinary,” Brown added.
The story was posted to Reddit, where it quickly drew comments ranging from philosophical to funny.
“Its stories like these that make you think about destiny,” one Reddit user wrote. “Maybe life is already planned out for us.”
“In the new movie played by Hugh Grant and Jennifer Aniston!” another commented.
Stephan credits his firefighter training for providing him with the ability to properly perform the Heimlich.
“He called to thank me for teaching him what I taught him in order to be able to do what he did at the restaurant,” said Dan Curtis, the man who trained Stephan at the fire hall. “It was just incredible. And as an instructor, you can’t get a better compliment than that — when somebody in the civilian world takes what they learn in a four-hour CPR class and actually uses it to save someone’s life.”
Both the American Red Cross, which provided the firefighter training for Stephan, and Boy Scouts, which Stephan is a member of, are planning an award presentation for him.
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