This is the sixth year in a row I’ve run this series in April.
Today’s story: Teen saves life of woman who saved him.
Call it a simple twist of fate — times two: A teenager in western New York state has saved the life of the same woman who years ago saved his life.
Seven years ago, Kevin Stephan of Lancaster, N.Y., was a bat boy for his younger brother’s Little League baseball team. A player who was warming up accidentally hit him in the chest with a bat. Kevin’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 said.
Fortunately, a nurse whose son played on that team was able to revive him and save his life.
“I started CPR on him and he came back,” Penny Brown said.
Stephan’s mother said he was extremely fortunate. Brown was supposed to be at work that night, but was given the day off at the last minute.
Now comes the really interesting part.
Last week that same nurse was eating at the Hillview Restaurant in Depew, N.Y., when she began to choke on her food. Witnesses say patrons were screaming for someone to help her.
“The food wasn’t going anywhere and I totally couldn’t breathe,” Penny said. “It was very frightening.”
Restaurant employees yelled for Stephan to come out and help. “They knew I was a volunteer firefighter and they called me over and I did the Heimlich, and I guess you could say I saved Mrs. Brown,” Stephan said.
At the restaurant, they realized the amazing twist of fate they had just witnessed. Seven years ago, Brown had saved Stephan’s life. Now at age 17, he had returned the favor.
“It’s almost unbelievable,” said Stephan, who is also an Eagle Scout.
“The fact that it has been two individuals, that you know, helped each other out in a pretty dire situation, it’s pretty extraordinary,” Brown said.
On Saturday, the two met again at the Bowmansville, N.Y., Fire Hall where Stephan is a junior firefighter. He presented her with a bouquet of flowers, and his parents were also there to greet Brown.
I’m going to try to get in touch with my inner Nicholas Sparks with this one… which is going to be tough because I’ve never actually read any of his novels. But here goes.
When Grant was 11 years old, he was down at the beach in the tourist town in which he lived. He heard cries for help. There floundering in the water, a young girl. The lifeguard was too far away to save her. Grant swam over, diving under the water, just barely grabbing the girl’s hand and pulling her to the surface, then hauling her back toward shore. The lifeguard met them, giving her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation before medics arrived and whisked the girl and her family away. It was almost as if it hadn’t happened, the event flashing by, then she was gone.
Years later, Molly lives outside Boston. While attending nursing school, she works two jobs to support herself including this one as a waitress at a posh restaurant. It’s a typical busy night for the waitstaff, Molly deftly circumnavigating the crowd to handle her tables.
Suddenly a commotion. A young man staggering to his feet, gasping for breath. He’s choking. No one seems to know what to do, frozen in place. Molly immediately leaps into action, giving him the Heimlich maneuver, dislodging a piece of meat from the young man’s throat. It’s one of those strange moments, both scary and embarrassing, and after thanking Molly, everyone settles back into their normal routine.
That night after tipping the chef and crew, Molly steps outside only to see the young man, standing beside a limousine. He had returned to thank her. “You saved my life,” he says. She tries to shrug it off, but he’s serious. “When I couldn’t breathe, that feeling, desperation… I could sense my life coming to an end.”
He wants to do something to thank her, at the very least would she share a drink with him. It’s late, most every place in the area is closed. He gestures to the limo. The chauffeur opens the back door. Inside a bottle of champagne on ice.
And so Molly ends up on a nighttime drive with this handsome young man. Turns out, he founded a hi-tech company in Boston and is worth millions. As they get to talking, she mentions how she could relate to his near-death experience as she had one, too. She was a tourist visiting a beach community. The young man says, “I used to live there. In fact, I saved a girl from drowning one summer.”
A few more pieces of information reveal the shocking truth: The young man is named Grant and he saved Molly’s life. And tonight, Molly returned the favor.
So here they are, two young people who have nothing in common. She is middle-class, an anonymous woman struggling to get ahead in life. He is a wealthy magnate who travels the world and is famous among his peers. The only thing they have in common is that they saved each others’ lives.
Has destiny brought them back together for a purpose… or is this just a completely random meeting of chance? And if it’s destiny, what else does fate have in store for them?
That’s my setup… and my thirtieth – and last – story idea for the month. And it’s yours. Free!
What would you do with it?
Each day this month, I have invited you to join me in comments to do some brainstorming. Gender bend, genre bend, what if. Take each day’s story idea and see what it can become when we play around with it. These are all valuable skills for a writer to develop.
See you in comments (hit Reply to join the conversation). And come back tomorrow for links to all thirty stories for the 2015 A Story Idea Each Day For A Month series.