Macomb County teen who helped save man’s life urges others to learn hands-only CPR

Sophia Vitale saved man in drive-thru of restaurant

A teenager jumped into action when a man had a cardiac episode at the restaurant she was working at. By using hands-only CPR, she helped the man regain his pulse by the time medics arrived. Now, she's urging others to learn the life-saving technique.

MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – A 15-year-old girl jumped into action when a man had a cardiac episode at the restaurant she was working at.

By using hands-only CPR, she helped the man regain his pulse by the time medics arrived. Now, she’s urging others to learn the life-saving technique.

Sophia Vitale works at a National Coney Island on Hall Road in Macomb Township. On July 7, she saved a man’s life when he pulled up into the drive-thru lane and didn’t order.

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“I was about to go run food out to a table and a customer had come in and it said that, like, just call paramedics. She was really, really just panicking,” Vitale said.

The woman was panicking because the man driving through the drive-thru was in cardiac arrest, his heart had stopped beating.

“I went outside and I saw two customers, a customer in the passenger seat and another customer shaking the other person trying to get them to wake up,” Vitale said. “I asked the customers if any of them knew CPR, because I wasn’t certified . . . And none of them knew. And, so I had one customer get them out on the ground and I just started doing chest compressions.”

Many were surprised to see a 15-year-old jump into action, but Vitale’s mother is a nurse and they’ve talked about and practiced CPR -- and the song that goes with it. Vitale said it was probably only minutes, but by the time paramedics were there the man’s pulse was back.

To thank Vitale, the Macomb Township Board of Trustees honored her.

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About the Author:

Nick joined the Local 4 team in February of 2015. Prior to that he spent 6 years in Sacramento covering a long list of big stories including wildfires and earthquakes. Raised in Sterling Heights, he is no stranger to the deep history and pride Detroit has to offer.