Retired teacher Dot Broadley made an emotional return to our Royston store in Barnsley to thank Scott Lettin and other colleagues who she said saved her life when they found her bleeding profusely in the car park.
Dot, who has polycystic kidney disease, lost three pints of blood when she was trying to change a dressing on her arm – and her friend Kathryn Wing rushed into the store to ask for help. Store manager Richard Auty rallied colleagues to come to her aid – and Scott pressed a towel to the wound for 20 minutes until paramedics arrived.
She said: "They gave me my life back. If it hadn't been for them, I'm convinced I wouldn't be here today. They were my guardian angels.
"I needed to go back and say thank you to them – it was quite emotional. They're so humble and don't think they've done anything miraculous, but they gave me the greatest gift. They went far beyond what was expected of them.
"I had a fistula in my arm, ready for dialysis, but it became infected, which I didn't know about. This meant that when I went to change my dressing as normal, blood came pouring out. It was as if someone had turned on a fountain.
"Obviously they deal with people passing out and falling over, but this was totally different. It must have been traumatic for them to see something so serious."
Dot, who's 67, spent 10 days in hospital, but has since made a good recovery.
Dot and Kathryn were heading for a day out at Cleethorpes on 20 April, the day before Dot was due to have dialysis, when they stopped at the store to pick up supplies for their trip.
Kathryn described what happened. She said: "Dot was preparing for dialysis and she'd had a fistula fitted. We thought it would be nice to go for a day out before she started dialysis.
"She said her arm had been bleeding slightly in the night, so we stopped at a chemist to get a new dressing. We then planned to go to Asda to buy drinks and sandwiches for the journey.
"Dot went to change her dressing and I'd never seen anything like it, blood was literally pouring out.
"I dialled 999 and the operator said I needed to get a clean, dry towel and press on it to stop the bleeding. I didn't have one in the car, so I dashed into the store and said to the first person I saw, 'I've got a medical emergency and need a towel now'.
"The manager Richard appeared, saw Dot, realised how serious it was and rallied his staff. Scott got a towel, got hold of Dot's arm and held it as hard as he could. Another colleague, Andy Parkinson, ran to the end of the car park to show the ambulance where to go.
"Richard and the staff were in control of the situation and worked as a team. They were amazing and I cannot thank them enough."
Scott, who's worked at the store for seven years, joined Richard to present Dot with a bunch of flowers when she returned to the store.
He said: "I was delighted to see her again. I gave her a cuddle; she had tears in her eyes and was very thankful.
"Seeing Dot again brought it all back. I remember someone shouting that we needed a towel for a customer in the car park. I went outside and saw a massive pool of blood. I'd brought a beach towel with me, so I wrapped it round Dot's arm, elevated it and held it as tight as I could with both of my arms to stem the bleeding.
"She was drifting in and out of consciousness and was losing a lot of colour in her face, so I tried to keep her talking. I did this for about 20 minutes until the ambulance came, squeezing as hard as I could for the whole time.
"It wasn't until afterwards I realised I couldn't feel my arms because I'd been pressing so tightly! It had to be done – I didn't give it a second thought.
"I got first aid training from Asda so knew what to do to stem blood from a wound. We've helped people who have had falls in the store before but nothing as serious as this."