CommunityHeroes Among Us


'Heart hero' saves Lexington man's life

2023-05-18 17_55_43-Clipping Tool.png
Posted at 6:02 PM, May 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-18 18:02:40-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Three people meet and greet on a sidewalk. It’s a scene we see all the time; perhaps old friends or maybe family bumping into each other. But there’s a lot of heart in these hugs and then some.

The day was Saturday, February 4th. John Harris was making a run to the store as he had done hundreds of times before. But this time would turn out unlike any other.

“I’d paid for my stuff, which was some water, about 10 gallons of water. After I paid for it, I was walking to the exit and that’s all I remember," recalls Lexington native John Harris. “I just dropped like a rock.”

That’s when Natalie Jenkins sprung into action, proclaiming, “This man is not going to die on my watch. Those were my exact words.”

The seven-year employee at Wal-Mart had never gone through any kind of formal CPR training, but she knew she had to do something.

“Everybody was just standing around doing nothin’,” said Jenkins. “So I just, it just clicked in. I had never done this before a day in my life. CPR just clicked in my brain and I just started doing chest compressions until paramedics got there. It wasn’t nobody, it ain’t nobody but God. Because like I said, I was just stunned.”

Harris doesn’t recall any of it.

“Next thing I know, I was in the hospital and she was beside me, my wife was beside me,” he said. “My wife told me that this woman named Natalie was the one that had kinda saved my life 'cause she gave me chest compressions."

Natalie’s quick thinking had saved John’s life, which the Harris’s now want to share with her family, and they wasted no time seeking her out.

“Me and my daughter were standing on the front porch and she comes up and was like, ‘Are you Natalie?’ and I’m like, ‘Yes ma’am’. Next thing I knew she just grabbed me and she just hugged me,” laughs Jenkins. “She got to crying and thanking me. She turned around and grabbed my daughter, hugged my daughter and said, ‘You just don’t know how much of a blessing your momma has been!’ All three of us was standing on the front porch crying.”

When I asked, Jenkins told me that Wal-Mart had not done anything to honor her life-saving efforts and that didn’t sit well with the Harris family. They’ve showered her with gifts to show their appreciation and – perhaps the best of all – now call her a member of their family.

“I call her my guardian angel, you know, because she was my guardian angel on that day”, Harris said, his voice breaking.

“I’m gonna start crying…she saved my life.”