Paradise Beach Taxi driver Tom Young was called into action last week, though this action had nothing to do with a taxi fare or ride.
Young, who was stationed inside his vehicle in The Mermaid Lounge & Liquors parking lot Wednesday morning, performed CPR on a man who approached him saying he thought he was having a heart attack. The man then dropped to the ground and became unconscious.
The situation began when Young pulled into the parking lot driving Paradise Taxi van #10. He noticed a familiar white van parked nearby and heard a guy named "Jerry" drove it.
Paradise Beach Taxi driver Tom Young poses in front of the same parking spot at The Mermaid Lounge & Liquors two days after he was approached by a heart attack victim and saved his life by performing CPR.
"He got out of the van, looked me dead in the eye, told me he thought he was having a heart attack and told me to call 911," said Young, who has worked for Paradise Beach Taxi for 6-1/2 years. "Then, he just rolled to the ground."
The 911 operator asked Young if Jerry was breathing about the same time Young noticed the man had stopped breathing.
"I got out of my van, felt his pulse and the operator told me to do exactly what she said," Young stated. "I had never done CPR before, but she told me to find the spot between the man's two nipples on his chest, start pumping, count to five and keep counting like that."
Young said it seemed like he was doing the emergency procedure forever. Officer Daniel Hollywood was the first responder on the scene and felt for a pulse.
"He was flat-lined," said Young. "His face was gray, but Hollywood said to keep pushing, so I did."
Soon after, an ambulance arrived and the EMTs revived Jerry.
"I think I got to his heart just in time," said Young. "Officer Hollywood told me I saved his life."
The heroic act was not the only kind service Young did that day. He stated he also gave a lady an umbrella when she was stuck in a downpour, jumped a car battery for a man who was stranded on the side of the road and gave $3 to someone who needed gas for his vehicle.
Two years ago, Young was stuck in traffic in a taxi van when he saw smoke coming out of a window at Gulf Motel by Topps Supermarket.
"I saw this lady come out with her two kids to sit them down. Then she ran back in," he said. "All of a sudden the kids followed her back in. So I pulled in the center lane, ran in there and saw this oven fire happening. I told her that her kids had followed her back in and to follow me back out because they could die from the smoke inhalation. Then, I shut the motel door. By that time, the fire trucks were beginning to pull up."
Young has also been known to return left-behind wallets to customers or ones he finds on the side of the road.
"I get that all from Tim (Williams, owner of Paradise Beach Taxi)," he said. "He has a heart of gold and has taught me a lot about life."
Williams is proud of his cab driver during his latest exploits.
"Tom is known on the beach as 'Taxi Tom' and has always been about helping people and going way above the call of duty," said Williams. "Twice this year he has gone as far as pay for rooms for people in a bad spot who have lost either their wallet or purse late at night on the Beach. We always have had the policy of returning phones or wallets, but he will do so on his time off. At times, people take advantage of his big heart. He will pay for people that are short on cab fair. Tom Young is the heart and soul of Paradise Beach Taxi."
As for Jerry, he was reported to be in stable condition on Friday.
"I'm just happy that Jerry is alive," Young said after finding out about the heart attack victim. "If you listen to (the 911 operator) and you stay calm, you can save a life."
Paradise Beach Taxi is no longer allowed to park at the 7-11 convenience store at 1301 Estero Blvd., so the taxi drivers park either at The Beached Whale or The Mermaid to wait for fares.
Young said he appreciates The Mermaid allowing him to park there. In turn, he says he picks up cigarette butts and trash off the parking lot surface as a return gesture.