Rankin linemen Steve Hammons and Don Smith started off their work day like they had many times before, by stopping at a local gas station for coffee. On this particular October morning, the line was extraordinarily long. Only one cashier was working, and he was having a hard time with what should have been a normal routine.
He was sweating profusely and only using one hand to handle the cash. His other hand was balled into a fist, and he was using it to hold himself up by pushing against the counter. The cashier was also moving at a slower pace than usual.
Smith was ahead in the line and asked the man if he was OK, to which he replied, “Yes.” Hammons later did the same, receiving a similar response. Once they got outside, the two men discussed how something wasn’t right with the cashier and thought he might be having a stroke. A policeman was in the parking lot, so they asked him to check on the cashier. He called the local fire station to come to the store after speaking with the man.
A bit later, Hammons asked one of his coworkers to drive by the store to see how the man was doing. He saw that the man was being put into an ambulance.
They went to the store the next morning to check on him and discovered that he indeed was in the middle of having a stroke the previous day. Because of their instincts, first-aid training and persistence, the cashier was taken to the hospital in a speedy manner and is “really good,” according to Smith. “We didn’t perform any life-saving measures on him, but we were there at the right time,” he said.
“The first-aid training we went through taught us the warning signs of a stroke,” said Hammons. “The first thing we learn to do in training is to ask if a person is OK,” added Smith. “However, you also have to be aware of your surroundings and know if something doesn’t look right.”
“Steve and Don set a high bar for us all,” said Entergy Mississippi president and CEO Haley Fisackerly. “It says a lot about us as a company that we train our employees to notice signs and act when needed.”
“They saw the warning signs and didn’t give up when the cashier said that he was OK,” added Fisackerly. “They spoke up, which says a lot about the character of Steve and Don. I’m really proud of them.”