Mohawk College student saves man by performing CPR on the bus

Nicole Bade was riding the bus to Mohawk College when a man collapsed in front of her.

'It's always great when we arrive on scenes and someone is doing CPR'

Nicole Bade was on her way to her classes at Mohawk College when a man collapsed on the bus. She gave him CPR and likely saved his life. (Nicole Bade)

When Nicole Bade got on the bus this morning, she was an ordinary college student. By the time she reached Mohawk College, she had saved someone's life.

Bade, 30, was headed to her early childhood education (ECE) classes around 8:20 a.m. when a man collapsed in front of her on the bus. She performed CPR on him, a move paramedics say likely saved his life.

Bade says that still hasn't sunk in.

"I feel OK right now," she said Monday afternoon, a few hours after the incident. "I feel a bit calmer, which is good."

Two days a week, Bade leaves her apartment in the new Indwell building at Main and Kenilworth and begins her 40-minute trek to school.

She takes an HSR bus to the MacNab terminal, then heads up the Claremont access on the 21 Upper Kenilworth bus, or the 33 Sanatorium.

Two hamilton buses on road
A Hamilton woman gave someone CPR on a bus headed to Mohawk College Monday morning. (Adam Carter/CBC)

Bade was using a wheelchair because of a knee injury a week and a half ago. On today's ride, a 70-year-old man stood about a foot away from her, she said, and collapsed.

Passengers helped him into a seat. Within about a minute, Bade estimates, he had two more seizures.

The bus was parked at the college at this point, the driver heading back to help. One of the passengers called out "does anyone know CPR?" That's when Bade ignored the pain in her knee and got out of her chair.

She learned CPR last fall for one of her ECE courses, she said, but she'd never used it. She's not sure how long she did chest compressions before paramedics arrived.

She sat outside the bus for a few minutes afterward, shaking but not crying. Bade says she has general anxiety, so when she told her professors she was having a rough day, they knew what she meant.

HSR spokesperson Amanda Kinnaird confirms there was a "medical emergency" on the bus. 

"Ms. Bade performed CPR until EMS and Hamilton police arrived," she said. "They are saying due to her efforts that she saved the passenger's life."

David Thompson, a superintendent with Hamilton Paramedic Service, says paramedics still aren't sure of the man's ailment, but he was transported to hospital in critical condition. His current condition is unknown.

"Hamilton Paramedic Service advocates for citizen to know CPR," Thompson said.

"It's always great when we arrive on scenes and someone is doing CPR, especially in public, since it's someone they quite often don't know. We advocate for that, and we advocate for everyone to get CPR training and use it if needed."


Samantha Craggs is journalist based in Windsor, Ont. She is executive producer of CBC Windsor and previously worked as a reporter and producer in Hamilton, specializing in politics and city hall. Follow her on Twitter at @SamCraggsCBC, or email her at samantha.craggs@cbc.ca