Nicole was heading off on an island holiday with a group of her girlfriends. As they were checking in at Auckland airport, one of the women noticed an elderly man had collapsed. Nicole and another of her friends, a nurse, immediately rushed over to check if he was OK.

The man was bleeding where he had hit his head on the floor. His daughter was calling out to her father, but there was no response. He wasn’t breathing.

Nicole’s friend began administering CPR, while Nicole knelt on the floor opposite, helping to loosen the man’s clothing so the nurse could continue.

“My adrenaline and head were going a million miles an hour, but I was able to keep calm, think clearly and contribute – all the while in the back of my mind thinking back to the two days with Red Cross the week before,” she says.

The airport staff soon arrived with a defibrillator and passed it to Nicole. Thanks to Red Cross’ training, Nicole was able to confidently apply the pads and follow the instructions given by the AED, without interrupting the CPR.

When emergency services arrived, paramedics took over the procedure. The group left to catch their flight, not knowing whether the man had survived.

The next day, the women received an email from the airport to say he was recovering in hospital. It was good news, and the whole experience showed Nicole the importance of first aid.

“Although I wasn't giving CPR, I absolutely see how essential it is, especially when somebody's life is in the balance, to have first aid skills. Merely by recognising a defibrillator, and knowing what to do next, I was able to take care of that without disrupting the CPR.

“I hope that I won't have to use my newfound skills again anytime soon, but what I have learned in this is that you never know what’s around the corner.”New Zealand Red Cross offers practical, hands on first aid courses around the country. Our NZQA-approved training helps Kiwis look after each other at home and at work – and on holiday.

Learn how to save a life

New Zealand Red Cross offers practical, hands-on first aid courses around the country. Our NZQA-approved training helps Kiwis look after each other at home and at work – and on holiday.

Book a course online today