When Seconds Matter: CPR Saves a Life During an Otherwise Everyday Shopping Trip

It was a normal, quiet Sunday afternoon. Paul Minton had been to church and filled his car with gas, and he was in his way to meet his son for lunch when he opted to stop into Target for a few quick items. He recalls walking into the store… and then nothing. The rest of the day is gone, because Minton had collapsed in cardiac arrest. The events of that day, and his life, were suddenly in the hands of strangers.

“I don’t recall anything about the incident. But what I’m told is that I walked in and – as soon as I had crossed through the doors – I fell over. No warning or call for help; I just collapsed,” shares Minton. “People nearby circled around, but no one knew how to help. That’s when Riley jumped in and saved my life.”

Riley Hinman was a 16-year old who had happened to stop into Target for a quick errand. Fortunately for Paul, Riley had recently learned Hands-Only CPR in a babysitting class and knew what to do. She had a bystander call 9-1-1 and the store manager use the intercom system to radio for additional CPR help as she started chest compressions. As she worked, a fellow shopper ran to the scene—Dr. Tiffany Elliott, an emergency room trauma physician who had heard the manager’s call. Together, they worked to keep oxygenated blood circulating to Paul’s vital organs until first responders arrived.

Since the incident and his full recovery, Minton hasn’t taken his second chance for granted, jumping in with the As the Director of Operations for BC Clark Jewelers in Oklahoma City, he has used his position to raise awareness both at his company – which has hosted two staff CPR trainings to date – and among the public via a fundraiser where BC Clark matched $25,000 in donations to promote the Oklahoma American Heart Association’s CPR in Schools program.

“Kids don’t think twice before they take action,” explains Minton when asked about the importance of CPR in Schools. “As I understand it, in Oklahoma your chance of survival and recovery from an attack like mine is only 7%, whereas in a city like Seattle where public school students have learned CPR for a long time, your survival rate is more than 60%. It’s very important! In my case, you had adults standing around who didn’t know what to do. Riley had been trained, and she just went to work.

“If I could say one thing to Riley now? Well, thank you just doesn’t seem to be adequate. She was an angel to my rescue. Personally, I believe that God has a plan for me, and that plan is to help advance the message of CPR education and training. God may have some other things in mind too, but I know that’s partly why I’m still here today.”

Are you interested in hosting a Hands-Only CPR training in your community? Contact a Community CPR Manager in your area for more information.