A Harrow grandfather has paid a touching tribute to the “angel” who saved his life after he collapsed with a heart attack the moment they passed each other in the street.
Jasvantkumar Patel was cycling through Hendon on his way home when he had the “fortune” to fall unconscious moments after Sarah Gardner left her house in Finchley Road.
The 26-year-old had completed a first aid refresher course the previous day, and with these skills at the front of her mind, instinct took over.
Mr Patel's lifeless body was lying face down with his bike on top of him, but in another stroke of luck, a passing taxi driver was strong enough to untangle him and twist him over.
Realising every second was precious and the man’s fate was now in her hands, Sarah began to perform lifesaving CPR.
The midwife said: “I was frantic at first, and frightened because I didn’t want to hurt him. I thought we’d lost him.
“I never dreamed he’d make such a good recovery. He must be a really special man, he had a lot of luck that day. I’m so pleased I was there at the right time.
“Every minute counts when your heart stops beating so I dread to think what would have happened if I had left my house just a few minutes later."
Sarah stayed calm as she spent four minutes performing chest compressions, before paramedics arrived to take Mr Patel to the Royal Free Hospital in nearby Hampstead.
Four days after the lifesaving feat in October 2011, she managed to track him down and in an emotional reunion, his family told her she had saved his life.
She added: “We will be lifelong friends. He has taken me into his family and it’s overwhelming. I now consider myself as having two families - my Indian family and my real one.”
Since his miraculous recovery, Mr Patel, of Regal Drive, Harrow, has wasted no time in getting back on his bike and is keen to live life to the full.
On Friday, he presented Sarah with a certificate from the Royal Humane Society for her quick-thinking and heroic actions.
The 72-year-old said: “I don’t remember a thing about what happened, but I tell people Sarah is my angel, she is my hero. Thanks to her, I can live to see my grandchildren grow up.
“She has become like a daughter to me. She is the reason I am here, I owe her my life. It’s a complete miracle.
“Sarah is perfect. Every time I see her, I feel like I’m the luckiest person in the world.”