When a woman ran into a BP gas station convenience store where Forest Park Police Officer Christopher Simmons stopped to grab a cup of coffee in the early morning hours of Feb. 26, he immediately knew something was wrong.
"She was really upset about her son. She said there was some kind of medical problem -- he wasn't breathing," Simmons told Officer.com. "I wasn't really sure what was going on. She was just so upset."
When he went outside to her car in the pouring rain around 3 a.m., he found 41-year-old Timothy Keith Haynes slumped over and not breathing.
"From all of the CPR classes I've taken, I knew I needed to get somewhere where I could lay him down flat and go ahead and start chest compressions," he said.
After alerting EMS, Simmons, the man's mother and another man carried Haynes inside and laid him on the floor.
The officer began CPR on the man and after a few minutes, he began breathing again and paramedics arrived to transport him to a local hospital.
"I've heard stories of CPR working and sometimes it not working, depending on how long the person has been under cardiac arrest," he said. "It's just one of those things where all you can do is hope for the best and it turned out really well."
Simmons was reunited with Haynes' mother, Linda Tyler, just a few days after the incident as they were being interviewed by local media and said that she was extremely grateful.
He said that all of the media attention was very different for him and that he was glad that something positive was being shown instead of the negative stories about police he's used to seeing on the news.
"I told each one of the reporters from the news networks that I was so thankful to see them reporting on something good," he said. "I was just like a breath of fresh air to turn on the news and see something that a police officer did that was actually helpful."
Simmons said that this was the first time he had to perform CPR on a victim, but had seen paramedics do it and is given a class by the department once a year.
"It's just one of those classes that you go to and sit through and think 'Yes, I've been through this before. I know what I'm doing,' and you just can't wait for it to be over," he said. "I know that CPR training can be somewhat monotonous and no so much fun, but when it comes down to actually needing it; it's well worth the time that you spent in that class."
From those classes, he said that he gained the ability to perform CPR like it was second nature. He just didn't know it yet.
"You never really understand what the repetition of training does," he said. "I was able to do it without really thinking it. It was just a complete instinct."