One good turn deserves another: A stranger stopped to help Sara Berg change a blown tire. Then, minutes later and a quarter-mile down the road, Berg and her cousin repaid the kindness, using CPR to help save the stranger's life when he went into cardiac arrest.
Victor Giesbrecht, 61, was listed in serious but stable condition Tuesday.
Giesbrecht and his wife, Ann, of Winnipeg, Canada, were driving Saturday evening on Interstate 94 outside of Menomonie, about 70 miles east of Minneapolis, when they pulled over to help Berg and her cousin, Lisa Meier, with a flat. After about 15 minutes, he and his wife were done, and everyone shook hands.
"He said, `Someone up above put me in the right place at the right time,' and I said, `Thank God for you,'" Berg, a 40-year-old nursing assistant in the Eau Claire area, recalled Tuesday.
Giesbrecht seemed fine as he drove off, Berg said. She and her cousin followed behind, talking about how thankful they were for the couple's help, when they saw the Giesbrechts' pickup along the side of the road, Giesbrecht's wife waving her hands. He had gone into cardiac arrest, and his wife had helped bring their truck to a stop.
Berg and Meier administered CPR until emergency personnel arrived. A sheriff's deputy used an automated external defibrillator to help Giesbrecht regain a pulse and resume breathing.
"I 100 percent believe God had a huge hand in it and that God did put me and Lisa and all those people in the right place at the right time," Berg said. "I'm grateful for that."
Berg said she and her cousin felt guilty, afraid that the rigors of changing the tire contributed to Giesbrecht's heart trouble. But she said his wife assured her of just the opposite: Berg saved his life.
"We'll forever be in their debt," Ann Giesbrecht said in a statement.
She said her husband always wants to stop when he sees stranded motorists: "He's the type of person who gives you 100 percent and worries about himself later."
"There needs to be more people like that in the world," Berg said. "If everyone helped each other out more, just think, our world would be better place."