"She's my lovely saviour, an absolute angel' – these are the words of customer Beryl Hawkridge after she was cared for by Asda colleague Cherisse Robinson when she collapsed with heart problems on a shopping trip to our Swindon Haydon store.
Seventy-eight-year-old Beryl was on her way to get a get well card for her seven-year-old granddaughter Isabella, who had broken her arm, when she started feeling poorly. She was helped to a chair by other shoppers as she was finding it hard to breathe and Cherisse, who was working on the customer service desk at the time, quickly went to her aid.
Cherisse, who's 33, said: "Beryl was gasping for breath and breathing quite fast. She was very pale and her skin was clammy and cold to the touch and she had pins and needles in her arms too. In my head I thought she was possibly having a heart attack. She was semi-conscious, but then she went completely unconscious."
After getting instructions and advice over the phone from the ambulance control centre, Cherisse got Beryl into the recovery position the floor and made her comfortable and held her hand while they waited for paramedics to arrive. Cherisse also got a colleague to bring the defibrillator from the store in case they needed it.
Cherisse said: "Every time Beryl lost consciousness I kept tapping her on the shoulder and talking to her and got her to come round. I kept asking about her grandchildren and things like that and she was talking a little bit.
"It was scary, but I just had to get on with it. I don't now long I was with Beryl but it just felt like forever. I was just so worried that she was going to go into cardiac arrest."
Paramedics took Beryl to the Great Western Hospital in Bristol, where doctors found that the bottom of her heart was not pumping enough blood and needed to have a pacemaker fitted.
After a week in hospital she was allowed home, and she couldn’t wait to go back into our store to thank Cherisse personally.
Cherisse said: "She looked really, really well when she came in to see me. I was so pleased to see her and so grateful that she's recovered. When I was told that she was coming in to see me I had a lump in my throat as I was really excited to see how she was.
"She said I am her saviour who saved her life, bless her, but I'm not. It was the paramedics and the doctors. I was just there to make her comfortable and keep her talking."
Beryl, who has four grandchildren and four great, grandchildren, said she had to come into store to thank Cherisse in person.
She said: “Cherisse was marvellous – she kept holding my hand and talking to me the whole time to stop me from going unconscious.
"Without Cherisse I don't think I would be here today. She saved my life. She was my absolute angel, my lovely saviour and I can't thank her enough."
Front end manager Chris Nichol says everyone at the store is so proud of Cherisse's actions.
He said: "Cherisse has always been a lovely character with an infectious smile, a warm personality and has been a dutiful first aider for our store for many years.
"It's no surprise to me the level of professionalism she gave to Beryl was more than just a service but of genuine care and compassion. This exemplifies who she truly is and we are all very proud of her."
Store manager Rich Tyler said: "This is a great example of how our colleagues go above and beyond in our local community.
"Cherisse is a fantastic colleague who really embraces putting the customer at the heart of everything we do."