Random act of kindness leaves 2 families in tears

Family meets woman who tried to save struck man's life

JACKSONVILLE, FLA. – One day after a man was hit and killed walking across Southside Boulevard, his family met the nurse who tried to save his life.

Hariam Pastrana, 72, was hit by a car Wednesday evening after crossing Southside Boulevard. Before he died, Yvonne Thomas pulled over to give Pastrana CPR until paramedics arrived.

The sister of the victim, Leida Velez, said the sudden death of her only brother came as a shock. The victim's niece, Aceneet Rivas, described Pastrana (pictured, below) as an amicable person.

"He was a happy-go-lucky man. He was friendly with everybody," said Rivas.


Velez and Rivas said were thankful for Thomas' kind act.

"I wanted to let her know that I appreciate her stopping because people to me don't always do that," Rivas said. "But to find out that somebody that kind is still around, it's a blessing."

Thomas attempted to save Pastrana's life, but said she knew at the scene he wasn't going to make it.

"I continued doing the compressions because I could hear the lady who hit him. She was extremely upset, and I didn't have the nerve to tell her that he was gone," Thomas said. "There wasn't an option to not stop. There was no option. There was no option."

RELATED: Man hit, killed by SUV on Southside Boulevard

Because of Thomas' automatic response to help, the man's family wanted to thank her in person. These strangers were brought together by a tragedy, but strength helped them move forward.

Thomas gave her sincere apologies when she met Pastrana's niece and sister. She said even though this is a tragedy, there was a light through it all.

Thomas said while giving compressions, a woman came from behind and stood right beside her. Through all of the noise and people blowing their horns, she could hear her praying.

"I should've stopped because I could hear his ribs cracking, but she was praying for him, just in case it was going to be a miracle on Southside Boulevard," Thomas said. "I continued the compressions, and I really appreciate her because in all of that she was that calm spot."

The family is working on creating a GoFundMe account. Thomas plans to attend Pastrana's funeral.

About the Authors: