South Jersey Wawa employee saves life of customer in need

Matteo Iadonisi Image
Monday, January 10, 2022
South Jersey Wawa employee saves life of customer in need
19-year-old John Wallop works the deli at a South Jersey Wawa. But thankfully, he also knows how to perform life-saving CPR.

MILLVILLE, New Jersey (WPVI) -- "It was a pretty normal day for a 16-hour shift," said Wawa employee John Wallop.

Wallop, 19, says he loves to work. He is especially enjoying his job behind the deli counter at Wawa on the corner of West Main and Sharp Streets in Millville, New Jersey. It puts money in his pocket while he finishes his senior year of high school.

But the particular double shift he worked on December 17, 2021, called for more work than he was used to.

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

Wallop, a fan of taking action and helping others, ran into the restroom to find a woman who was not 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, passed away 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. Within about seven minutes, EMTs arrived and saved her life.

"And if I didn't do what I did, she wouldn't, you know, not would have made it," said Wallop.

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

"The grandmother took the kids every summer and she took John to CPR class," she said. "If she was definitely alive, man. She'd have been definitely honored."

Wallop was recognized by friends and classmates alike as his story began to crop up 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'm thinking about joining the police force," he said. "I believe we need more EMTs and medics and law enforcement officers out there."

Wallop is looking forward to finishing school and pursuing a full-time job at Wawa while he waits for 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.

"Certain things in life, you know, you're not gonna know when it's going to end or not," he said. "So, everything is a valuable lesson."

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