Chester’s clerk helps saves customer’s life

Julie Ramirez helped save the life of a customer at Chester's Thriftway in John Day on Nov. 7.

The quick thinking and action by a checkout clerk at Chester’s Thriftway may have saved the life of a customer whose oxygen tank had run out.

Julie Ramirez said she had just clocked in around noon on Nov. 7 when she heard a moaning and decided to check it out.

A man was slumped over his grocery cart about 20 feet away, his face an ashen gray and his lips turning blue.

“What got to me was the moaning,” she said.

Ramirez noticed the man’s knees were wobbly and asked him if she should call 911. She also noticed the gauge on the man’s portable oxygen tank read empty. Ramirez had taken care of her father and her stepfather over the years and was familiar with oxygen tanks.

“White Dodge pickup behind seat,” the man whispered to her.

“You’ll be fine,” Ramirez told him.

She raced out to the parking lot, located the truck, grabbed a full tank from behind the seat and ran back. The man recovered soon after the new tank was connected to his tubes.

Ramirez said she moved to John Day from Redmond about two years ago. She has a brother and niece here. She said she did what came natural to her.

“I was raised that way — that you should help each other,” she said.

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