Awesome - This Couple’s First Kiss Wasn’t Just Magical; It Was Literally Life Saving



Most first kisses are awkward and unpleasant preceded by way too many moments of anxiety. Occasionally, you do find that person you have a great first date with; and it ends in an amazing kiss.





But what happened to this couple was so much more. Max Montgomery and Dr. Andi Taylor went paddleboarding in Capitola, California on their first date. And believe it or not, their first kiss actually ended up saving his life.





It Started Out Like Any Other First Date

Max Montgomery, 56, is a tech content creator and surfing instructor in California. All he wanted to begin with was some company while he was training for Sea Paddle NYC, a marathon paddle boarding event.





So he put out an invite on Facebook tagging his friends and hoping someone was up for it. To his surprise, Dr Andi Trainor, 45, responded saying she was interested. Max couldn’t believe his luck; this was just the opportunity he’d been waiting for but had not expected would ever come.




Things Got Heated as They Came Closer to the D Day

Max had been friends with Andi for a while, and he had been crushing hard on her, even though they’d never dated. Once he realised Andi was going to take him up on his offer to go paddle boarding, they started chatting. In fact, two days before they were supposed to meet, Max confessed to Andi that he had a massive crush on her.





To her surprise, Andi found that she was interested too and wanted to spend more time with Max. Just like that, a paddle board training session for two friends turned into a first date. One that neither of them could wait to get to.





The Date Started Off Great; and They Both Felt Like They’d Finally Found Something Real

Max and Andi woke up early on Saturday for their “first date” and went to Capitola beach in Santa Cruz. Through four rounds of paddle boarding, they chatted about work, friends and life. Max found himself more and more attracted to the attractive anesthesiologist from Palo Alto.

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On her part, Andi was thinking she’d finally lucked out when it came to meeting a good guy. Max was so passionate about surfing and was fun and funny to boot. Andi had almost given up on finding someone like him. And with their mutual love for paddle boarding, it was almost an ideal first date. Unfortunately, it was all about to go horribly wrong.
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At the End of the Date, all of a Sudden, Max Just Wanted to Get to His Car

At the end of their fourth paddle boarding session, Max surprised Andi by just wanting to rush to his car. She started thinking that maybe she’d misread all the signs and maybe this wasn’t the dream first date she was imagining it to be.

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But what she didn’t know was that Max wanting to rush to his car had absolutely nothing to do with her. He had suddenly started feeling a burning sensation in his chest; and he’d never experienced anything as intense in his life.





And Just Like That, the Dream Date Started Turning into a Nightmare

"I kept saying just make it to the car, make it to the car and then I said I need to put the board down and I put the board down and then boom that was it," Max said. Without any warning, Max had collapsed to the ground right in the middle of the beach.

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Andi couldn’t believe what she was seeing. Although by no means an empty beach, Capitola was relatively uncrowded. From where she stood, hovering over Max who was now completely unconscious, Andi couldn’t see anyone at all.




Max Was Unconscious and Andi Was Struck by Panic

For a few brief moments, Andi was stunned. Even in her wildest dreams, she couldn’t have imagined this day playing out the way it had. She hadn’t thought she would end up connecting so deeply with Max on their very first date.

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More than that, she could never have imagined that the date would be cut short abruptly like this. With the man she had found herself liking more and more now lying unconscious on the ground. Looking eerily still.




Andi Realized That It Was Now or Never; Her Next Actions Would Decide Everything

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Andi took a deep breath and tried to suppress the panic that was rising from her chest to her throat and threatening to paralyse her. She bent down next to Max and took his wrist to feel his pulse. She couldn’t find one. “I just, I thought he was dead,” she said later.

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She knew that Max’s situation was as serious as it gets. She also knew that her actions over the next half an hour could very well make the difference between life and death for this man she was so drawn to. If there was anyone who was in the right position to save his life, it was her.




If Anyone Had the Knowledge and Skills to Save Max’s Life, It Was Andi

Undoubtedly, the position Andi found herself in was unenviable and no one’s idea of a great first date. Luckily however, there are very few people who would be better equipped to handle this situation than Andi. As an obstetrical anesthesiologist at Stanford University, Andi was trained in CPR and mouth-to-mouth.

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Something not too many people know how to administer. It was this skill that came to her mind immediately. As her mind quickly formulated a plan, the panic subsided and adrenaline took over.




That’s How Andi and Max Had Their Very “First Kiss”


Andi was down on her knees and next to Max as she put her mouth on his. At the back of her mind she was thinking that this was technically her first kiss with Max. Something she had ironically been looking forward to all afternoon and had been hoping would happen sometime before they parted ways that day.

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Never in her wildest dreams could she have imagined that this was how their first kiss would happen; with Max unconscious on the ground and Andi giving him mouth to mouth in a desperate attempt to save his life.
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Andi Knew That Max Had a 10% Chance of Making It, But She Wasn’t About to Give Up

Andi pushed away all of these thoughts and focussed on the task at hand- saving Max. She started administering CPR. Once again, her mind started buzzing. She could tell that Max had had had a cardiac arrest.

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She knew the stats; over 90% of people who have a sudden cardiac arrest end up dying before they even reach the hospital. But she was determined that Max would not become just another statistic. He would be among the 10% who survived.




Andi’s First Priority Was to Make Sure That Max Didn’t Get Any Brain Damage

That’s because there was one other thing that Andi knew thanks to her training as an anesthesiologist. That the chances of survival triple if CRP is administered immediately. She also knew that with the oxygen supply cut off, the most vulnerable organ and the first to be damaged would be his brain.


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Andi wanted to do everything in her power to make sure that if Max survived, he wouldn’t be brain dead. She kept administering CPR and mouth to mouth. But even as continued with the CPR, she found herself all alone and her heart started sinking.




There Seemed to Be No Help Around and Andi Couldn’t Do This Alone

She knew that she wouldn’t be able to call for help and administer CPR at the same time. Which meant that Max would either not be able to get to the hospital on time or become brain dead when he reached there.

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These thoughts whirled through Andy’s mind as she tried to plan her next move and kept drawing a blank. Even as she kept administering the CPR she knew that both time and luck were running out. Max would almost certainly die unless help came soon. She started calling out for help on the beach.
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Just When She Was About to Give Up, Something Great Happened

Fate smiled down on Max for the second time that day. Just as Andi was almost about to give up hope, she saw three passers by run towards her. They had realised that there was a man unconscious on the beach and the woman administering CPR looked like she could really use some help.


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They bent down next to her and asked how they could help. And that’s the first time Andi started believing that Max might just pull through after all.




Things Were Looking up But There Was Still a Long Way to Go

There was better news for Andi. One of the women who stopped by to help was a nurse. This meant she could take over the CPR for a little while if Andi needed a breather. At the same time, the passers by called the paramedics. Andi’s heart was racing so fast she wondered if she could hold it together long enough.

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But she knew Max was counting on her and there was no way she would let him down. She kept focussing on the CPR and mouth to mouth as they waited for the paramedics to arrive.




The Paramedics Began Working on Max But It Was an Uphill Battle

The paramedics arrived about 10 minutes later and quickly took over from Andi. It had been more than 10 minutes since Max’s heart had stopped beating and he still hadn’t woken up. As soon as the paramedics came, they gave Max 3 shocks with the defibrillator and some medicine.

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But Max was still lying still on the ground and there seemed to be no signs of life. Things were starting to look very grim.




The Paramedics Go on to Do Their Job, and Andi is Left Alone and Heartbroken
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With Max still not breathing, the paramedics hoisted him into the ambulance and started driving to the hospital, leaving Andi alone on the beach. As the adrenaline left her body Andi broke down and began sobbing.

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All she had been doing for the past 10 minutes was keeping her focus on the CPR and on doing more than her 100% to save Max’s life. Now she knew there was nothing more she could do and it was up to the paramedics and fate.




There’s Nothing Andi Can Do Now Except Pray

Andi says she remembers calling one of her closest friends from the beach once the paramedics had loaded Max into the ambulance. She was sobbing as she told her friend, “I finally met a really great guy and he dies on me!” Andi couldn’t believe what had just happened.





She had no idea if Max would live through this, and if her prompt actions had saved his life or been in vain. Worse, she had no way of knowing how things would turn out. All she could do was go home to her two kids and pray for Max.





Were the Odds in Favour of Max Making It?

Meanwhile, the paramedics were hard at work trying to revive Max. It had been 17 minutes and Max was still technically dead. 5 defibrillator shocks had had no effect at all. But they weren’t going to give up that easily. They had seen people come back from much worse. Max was only 56; and few people took care of themselves better than Max did.





Apart from being an avid surfer, he was an enthusiastic runner too. In fact he had finished a 10.5 mile run just the previous night. On the other hand, Max did have a genetic predisposition to heart attacks. So the only question was, had too much time gone by already?
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Max Was Awake but Brain Damage Was Now a Distinct Possibility

The 6th shock was what did it. Max suddenly opened his eyes and saw an EMT looking at him. The only word Max would use later to describe the experience was “surreal”. The EMT asked if Max remembered what had happened.





The EMT had seen too many cardiac arrests to know that when someone was out for as long as Max had been, brain damage was a real possibility. He waited with bated breath to see how Max would respond. What Max said next left him amazed.





Max’s First Thoughts are Not about Himself But About Andi

Max replied to the EMT, ‘Yeah I think I've had a heart attack, how embarrassing.’

The EMT was having mixed feelings about this. It seemed like Max was quite lucid; but why would someone in their right mind describe a heart attack as embarrassing?

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Max continued, "It was embarrassing because I finally told this woman I really liked I had a crush on her and she had said it back. Now she probably won’t want to see me again. Who wants to date someone who just had a heart attack?" The EMT couldn’t help laughing, partly due to relief and partly due to genuine amusement. He was about to make Max a very happy man with his next words.




Max Couldn’t Believe That Andi Had Saved His Life

The EMT told Max, “The lady who was with you pretty much saved your life. She kept giving you CPR and mouth to mouth the entire time you were knocked out. It’s most likely the reason you’re here in this ambulance talking to me. Something tells me she’s going to want to see you again”

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Max couldn’t believe his ears. The woman he’d had a crush on for so long, whom he’d finally find the courage to ask out, whom he’d had a dream first date with, had now turned around and literally saved his life. Even though he was in an ambulance having just escaped death by the skin of his teeth, his only thought was how he could reach out to Andi and what she would say to him.

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Andi and Max Finally Speak and It’s an Emotional Conversation

Max called Andi from the hospital that afternoon. The first words out of his mouth were, “I’m sorry.”

Andi remembers becoming teary-eyed when she got the call from Max. All the pent-up stress and emotion from the day got released.

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Andi had been so worried that the amazing man she had just met would be gone. She had been feeling lost and forlorn. She felt an absolutely indescribable sense of relief when she heard Max’s voice at the other end of the line. But sadly things were not destined to end in a happily ever after that day.




Max Has to Go Through a High-Risk Surgery or Face Certain Death

The doctors informed Max that he would have to undergo a coronary triple bypass surgery the very next day if he wanted to stay alive. The doctors also explained to Max that though a bypass was now standard procedure, it was still a very risky surgery, especially when it followed a serious cardiac arrest like Max’s.

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Max explained this to Andi and she continued to worry as he went into surgery the next day. The worst was not yet over and she still didn’t know if, after all they had been through, Max would even survive.





Andi Goes to See Max and is Surprised by What He Tells Her

Luckily, Max’s surgery went off successfully! While he was relieved to be alive and surrounded by friends and family, Max still had one worry.

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That very day, after his surgery, Andi came to the hospital to see him. Max expressed himself honestly at the very outset. Max said to her, “I understand if you don’t want to keep seeing me.” Andi was shocked. After all that they had been through in the last couple of days, this wasn’t what she’d expected from Max at all.
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Andi Has a Tough Choice to Make

Max quickly explained himself. He told Andi that his the seriousness of his heart attack and his surgery would come with recovery challenges and lifestyle changes. He didn’t want Andi to have to be with someone who was going through that.

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Andi was touched by how considerate he was, even when he’d just escaped death himself. Andi saw that he was surrounded by his friends and family, all of whom seemed to be really fond of him and worried about him. Even at his most vulnerable, Max seemed like a stand-up guy, through and through. Andi told Max she had made a decision.





Max Couldn’t Believe His Ears; Maybe This Wasn’t Such a Tragedy After All

Andi said to Max, “I’m not going anywhere.”

Max couldn’t believe it. Even though his gut had told him Andi would stay, his mind said that no woman would see a man in the state that he was in and agree to go on a second date.

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Andi’s words finally made him feel at peace. He realized he’d finally found a woman whom he connected with on a deep level that was hard to define. This, however, was not the end of their story. There was yet another beautiful surprise in store for the couple.




Their First Kiss Was on Video!

It turned out that photographer Alex Baker had been taking time lapse photographs on the Capitola beach at the same time as Max’s heart attack. The entire episode with Max collapsing on the ground and Andi and the paramedics saving his life had been caught on video!

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Alex gave the video to them that showed the couple’s “first kiss”, which they now fondly refer to as “the kiss of life”. The video sparked an idea that led to the beginning of something huge for both of them.

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Max and Andi Decide to Share Their Incredible Story and Pay It Forward

Max and Andi decided to use their phenomenal story to spread awareness about CPR and how it can save lives. They started the Help A Heart initiative through their NGO Paddle4Good. It’s a free program that helps bring awareness through short 5-10 minute lifesaving instructions that teach people how to give CPR, to call 911 and how to get an AED device.





Almost 25% of people who die each year die due to cardiac arrests; and timely CPR can triple their chances of survival. Now that’s something amazing to work towards.

Also, are you wondering what happened to Andi and Max? Did they manage to make it as a couple after everything they went through?




They Got Their Happily Ever After; Everyday is Now a Joyous Celebration of Life

Max and Andi did get their happily ever after. They are madly in love, passionate about surfing and even more passionate about helping spread awareness about CPR and saving lives.

Best of all, they finally got their real first kiss. Andi recalls, “A few weeks after his surgery he was recuperating and we were on the beach just talking. "I said, 'You can kiss me for real now.’”

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This amazing couple didn’t let a tragic first date put an end to their romance. They used it to make their bond stronger than ever; and to help change the world. One heartbeat at a time

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