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Lifestyle & Human Interest

College Student Saves Co-Worker's Life First Day on Job at Walmart

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Those involved in sports have long known that practice and competition can help hone a variety of skills. Not only do you strengthen your body, but your mind gets a workout as well.

Split-second decision making and quick responses are what helped one young man save a life recently, and those are certainly skills that have come from his training as a wrestler.

Diego Aguilera grew up in Pharr, Texas, and is the oldest of three children. Now a college student, he attends Buena Vista University in Iowa and is pursuing wrestling.

As many students do, he picked up a job at the nearby Walmart, and on Sept. 17 was being trained by a 63-year-old associate.

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It was during their break in the break room that things started to go south. The older man began complaining that he wasn’t feeling well, and then grabbed his chest and collapsed over a produce box, suffering from a heart attack.

“I saw his head start tilting back, and he just looked more and more relaxed,” Aguilera told the Des Moines Register. “He said he didn’t feel well and couldn’t breathe. Then his face turned white, and he started sweating.”

Aguilera raced to the man, checking for a pulse. He found it, but it was slowing, so he started chest compressions, which he learned through wrestling in high school.

“I was asking him about his kids,” Aguilera explained. “Their names, their ages, just so he could focus on something. I figured getting him to think about his kids would keep him engaged.”

When the man regained enough awareness, he told Aguilera they needed a “code white,” which is the code for an accident. Aguilera got manager Kristy Wagner, who called for help and the man was taken to hospital.

“In my mind, it wasn’t really scary in that moment,” he said. “It was more: What can I do right now to help? It wasn’t a matter of being scared or thinking I can’t do this. There was no time to think about it. I had to keep moving.”

“Just talking about it and remembering what it was like — man, it gives me chills.”

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His mom posted about her hero son as well, saying that he called her to say he thought he was being tested.

“He calls me yesterday and says … Mom. I swear I’m being tested,” she shared on Facebook the day after the incident. I asked what do you mean???”

She detailed the measures her son took to save his coworker’s life and how grateful his employers were.

“Diego says to me … Man … Mom. Why does this happen to me???” she continued. “It’s been about 6 months ago after High school tournament, when me and Coach and couple wrestlers help save a little Girls life that was choking in a Parking lot.”

“He says God puts me there. I feel like I’m being tested. I told him God knows your Great. He knows you will help. I am so Proud of you Son. It takes a Big Heart and Courage to quickly think and respond to someone’s Emergency.”

“You have that Fire in you to do anything!!!! That makes me so Proud.”

Diego’s future certainly looks like it will be interesting, and he’s proven that he has what it takes to win on and off the mat.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking