'He's my hero' - stroke victim hails worker at cafe who saved her life
A stroke victim whose life was saved by the fast actions of a coffee shop assistant has described him as her real-life hero.
Jonathan Fitzpatrick (25) called an ambulance when he spotted signs Marion Walshe might be suffering from a stroke - the same signs he learned to watch out for after his own mum had a similar condition.
Marion, from Slane, Co Meath, had been attributing dizzy spells to vertigo, not knowing that they were being caused by a bleed on the brain.
The dizziness was accompanied by nausea when she went for a cup of tea at Starbucks in Drogheda's Laurence Street Centre, a visit which effectively saved her life.
"I went for a cup of tea and felt sick but I thought I had picked up a vomiting bug from visiting my husband Joe in hospital," Marion said.
"I remember trying to ask a young girl where the toilet was but I couldn't get the words out and could only point at the door.
"I got sick on myself and managed to get to the toilet where I was sick again. I remember a knock at the door and a voice asking if I was all right. It was Jonathan.
"I didn't think I had any symptoms of a stroke, just a weak feeling down my left leg, but thankfully Jonathan noticed that something was wrong and called an ambulance. Doctors told me he saved my life."
Jonathan played down his heroic actions, saying anyone else would have done the same.
"I saw her slumped in the chair and noticed she had been a little bit sick so I asked her if she was ok and if she wanted to use the toilet," he said, adding that he advised her to use the emergency chord if necessary.
"I saw she hadn't returned 10 minutes later so I went to check on her and help her back to the chair.
"She was slurring her words and I asked her to look at me when I noticed she seemed to have tunnel vision. It was when I asked her to smile that I knew something was wrong. Half her face was drooped.
"I asked my manager to ring for an ambulance. I didn't want anything to happen to her on my watch - I would've even paid for the ambulance myself.
"It's basic human nature to look out for others and all this attention is a bit overwhelming.
"It's showed that it should be acceptable to ask people if they are ok. Sometimes you get a cutting reply of 'why shouldn't I be ok?' but in this instance, it was the right thing to do."
Marion, who spent five weeks recovering in hospital, has publicly thanked Jonathan and has even had a T-shirt made with the words 'you are my hero'.
"He is my hero and I want to say thank you for all he did," she added.
"He's a shining example for others for caring. He's so honest, he even got his colleague to put the money I paid for the tea back into my pocket when I was leaving in the ambulance.
"There should be more Jonathans in the world."