It was a trip to Starbucks Brent Rapport said he'll remember the rest of his life.
The visit, earlier this month, began as an opportunity for the Santa Clara County Fire captain to treat his crew to coffee after a hard day of training. It ended, though, with the 20-year-veteran standing in the coffee shop, happy tears streaming down his face.
"It was a good moment," Rapport said. "A good moment."
Rapport said it all had to do with a call he and his crew responded to almost exactly one year ago. A caller to 911 reported that a woman had passed out in her Campbell home. As a captain, Rapport usually supervises such calls, but during that shift he was in the role of paramedic, the firefighter directly responsible for patient care.
A patient, he soon would learn, who would need a lot of care.
"She was gray," Rapport recalled. "She was so pale I couldn't believe it. I mean, I looked at her and I go, 'That lady is big sick.'"
Rapport said he was told by the woman's husband that she was pregnant. He quickly, and ultimately correctly, recognized her condition as a ruptured, ectopic pregnancy. Knowing that the baby was lost, Rapport focused his energy on saving the mother's life. She was bleeding internally and needed to be taken to the hospital as quickly as possible.
"We're going as fast as we can and the only thing I can do put my hand on her head and say, 'I'm gonna take good care of you, you're safe.'" Rapport says he never tells patients they are going to be OK, "because I don't know it's going to be OK."
In fact, Rapport said, in most cases, he has no idea what ultimately happens to his patients. Health privacy laws prohibit the sharing of that kind of information, even with emergency personnel like Rapport. So he handed the woman over to surgeons at Good Samaritan Hospital hoping she would survive.
"That's usually where the story ends," Rapport said.
But not this time.
Fast forward to Rapport and his crew at the Starbucks on Hamilton Avenue in Campbell. After handing out a sticker to a little girl, Rapport looked up. "This woman is sitting, looking at me, and she has tears in her eyes."
Sadie Lowry was the woman he had worked on a year earlier. "I wouldn't be alive without him. He saved my life," Lowry said.
Knowing that Lowry had survived was a pleasant surprise for Rapport. It wasn't the only one he was going to get that day, though. "She says, 'I want you to meet my son,' Rapport said. He looked down to see a baby boy in a stroller.
What neither Rapport or Lowry knew that day was that she was carrying two embryos, one ectopic, the other normal.
Rapport and his crew hoped they had saved one life, but had actually saved two.
"I thought she was just pregnant with one and lost the baby and here was this beautiful baby boy," Rapport said. "We were crying and I'm hugging her, looking at the little guy."
Rapport says the experience encapsulated, in a single moment, everything he has loved about his 20 years on the job.
"It's actually an honor to be the guy that go to be the paramedic to work on her, to make a difference in her life," Rapport says.