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Cafe worker whose mum had stroke uses that experience to save woman's life

A Starbucks employee who saved a woman’s life by spotting the signs that she could be having a stroke, has said “don’t be afraid to talk to people you don’t know”.

Jonathan Fitzpatrick (aged 25), is a supervisor in one of the chain’s stores in Drogheda, county Louth, and took the time to ask a woman who was feeling unwell a few questions.

Weeks later her daughter rang him to say thank you, that his actions had saved her mum’s life.

He also said that Drogheda should not get a name because of ‘a couple of bad eggs,’ and he plans to make his home in the town.

The woman had got her cup of tea one afternoon last January and was sitting down when Jonathan noticed she was slumped in her chair.

He checked on her and visually she seemed fine. She was very apologetic as she had got a bit sick and she went into the bathroom.

He also kept an eye to see she was okay and told her there was an emergency cord in the bathroom.

When she came out, he sat beside her and talked to her. She complained of feeling dizzy but put it down to the stress of her husband being in hospital.

Jonathan had experience of his mum having a stroke a number of years ago and when she said something with the ’s’ sound in it, it triggered something in him and it made him ask the woman to look at him.

“I asked her to show me her biggest smile,” and when she did, “it was like her face was cut in half,’ as one side did not lift. The woman was not aware of this though

“I saw her eyebrow drop down,” and he recalled the public health advertisement ‘FAST’ highlighting the signs of a stroke.

“F is for face, A is for arms, S is for speech and T for time, it was in an advert a few years ago where a woman is having a barbecue and she stumbles”

He asked her to lift her arms and, just as with her smile, only one side lifted properly.

He also asked her to say the rhyme ‘she sells seashells by the seashore.’

Jonathan told his manager “I think this woman is having a stroke,” and they rang for an ambulance.

Jonathan Fitzpatrick, who saved a woman's life earlier this year. Pic: Ciara Wilkinson.

He was not certain this was the problem but, “I was not going to risk it, I was not going to let this woman die in the store and on my watch.”

The paramedics were at the Laurence Town centre within minutes and took her to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital.

Weeks later her daughter rang the store and thanked Jonathan.

“She said that because of me her mam was alive,” he said.

The family then contacted the local Drogheda Independent and in the article, they said that but for his quick actions, she would have died as she was having a bleed on her brain.

Jonathan said yesterday: “I would like to get in touch with them to say thank you for their wonderful words.”

He takes pride in welcoming people into Starbucks and said: “my mam says smiling and happiness is contagious.

"I would say don’t be afraid to talk to people you don’t know, I just asked that customer if she was okay, by doing that you can save somebody’s life.”

He lives in Drogheda and said, “I have lived in many places in my life and this is the first place I have called home. I want to buy a house here and make this my home.”

In relation to the negative publicity the criminal feud has got the town, he said: “A couple of bad eggs should not define a town. Drogheda is a town where you can walk on the street and people say hello, it is a friendly town.”