On Thursday, a man walked into United Hatzalah’s headquarters in Jerusalem. He asked the first person he saw, “When someone calls in an emergency who answers the phone? Where is your dispatch center?” Moshe Levy, a volunteer EMT with the organization, as well as the head of logistics department answered the man and explained to him how the dispatch center works and where it is located. He took the man on a short tour of the building and asked him why the man was so interested in understanding how the dispatch center worked.

The man replied by telling Levy the following story: “About 45 minutes ago I was riding in a taxi by the entrance to the Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem. I saw a friend of mine sitting by himself at a bus stop. I asked the driver to pull over so that we could give my friend a lift. The driver pulled over to the side of the road and my friend got in the car. After approximately 400 meters (1200 feet) my friend collapsed inside of the taxi. I immediately called United Hatzalah’s dispatch number at 1221 and within 30 seconds, not one, but two ambucycle EMTs arrived and performed CPR on my friend.

United Hatzalah ambucycle volunteers respond to CPR on the street.
United Hatzalah ambucycle volunteers respond to CPR on the street.

My friend received a shock from the defibrillator, and then another and another. His pulse finally returned after the third shock. He suddenly began to breathe once more. I am completely overwhelmed with emotion right now and I feel that I have been a part of saving his life.”

The man continued to overflow with emotion as Levy continued listening to his story. “I thanked the EMTs over and over again for saving my friend, but I felt that I had to come here to your dispatch center and say thank you to the dispatcher who helped with the call as well. I want to shake his hand.”

Levy asked the dispatchers who answered the call as well as the dispatcher who sent the volunteers to step away from their desks for a moment. He introduced the excited gentleman to Ophir Yitzchak who received the call and instructed the man what to do, and Yechiel Stern who guided the volunteers so quickly to the location.

“Thank you. From the bottom of my heart thank you,” the man said over and over again. “You saved the life of my friend and there are not enough words in our language to say how much gratitude I have right now.  All I can say is that you are doing the work of G-d by saving lives and that those of us you help, as well as our families and friends all say thank you.”

The EMTs who responded and saved the man’s life were Yehuda Marciano and Bentzi Galinsky.

After the man left the headquarters, Moshe Levy took a moment to reflect on the incident. “Here I was in the middle of my workday when a stranger walked into the door and filled me with such a sense of pride and gratitude that I felt I simply had to share this story with whomever I could. It is no small feat to save a person’s life. You as a stranger walk into someone else’s life and help them in any way that you can. That is inspiring. But for us as responders to have someone walk in out-of-the-blue and say thank you in such a way inspires us to be better at what we do.”