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South Jersey Wawa employee saves life of needy customer

MILLVILLE, New Jersey (WPVI) – “It was a fairly normal day for a 4-hour shift,” said John Wallop, Wawa employee.

Wallop, 19, says he enjoys working. He especially enjoys his work behind the Wawa deli counter at the corner of West Main and Sharp streets in Millville, New Jersey. He puts money in his pocket as he finishes his final year of high school.

But the particular double shift he worked on on December 17, 2021 took more work than usual.

“I was pretty tired,” he said. “I was working on making sandwiches and two strangers ran over to me, like, ‘Hey, hey, there’s a girl having a seizure in the bathroom.'”

Wallop, a fan of action and helping others, ran into the bathroom to find a woman who wasn’t breathing. Without hesitation, he implemented a CPR technique that he learned several years ago under the tutelage of his grandmother.

He then checked the woman’s pulse.

“She, you know, died on me for a second,” he said. “You know, she died on me for a second.”

But Wallop did not concede. He resumed cardiopulmonary resuscitation until the woman began to cough. About seven minutes later, paramedics arrived and saved his life.

“And if I hadn’t done what I did, she wouldn’t have done it, you know, wouldn’t have done it,” Wallop said.

Wallop’s mother, Calvina, was extremely proud but expected nothing less from her son. It was his late mother who sparked John’s interest in helping others.

“The grandmother would take the kids out every summer and take John to CPR,” she said. “If she was definitely alive, man. She would have been definitely honored.”

Wallop was recognized by his friends and classmates when his story first appeared in local newspapers. He also received a Pillar of the Community Hero Award presented by Positive Vibes Community Group.

Wallop was humbled by the whole experience and wants to continue helping others.

“I am thinking of joining the police,” he said. “I think we need more paramedics, doctors and law enforcement officers.”

Wallop looks forward to completing his studies and continuing a full-time job at Wawa while he awaits his next steps in higher education. He encourages all young people to learn CPR because, despite their job description, they never know when they might need it.

“Some things in life, you know, you won’t know when it’s going to end or not,” he said. “So everything is a valuable lesson.”

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