Horrible, wasn't it, that incident outside the Capital Centre on Oct. 6? Fans were leaving a rock concert when an electric storm burst loose. Three people were hit by lightning. One young man was killed.
Nancy Stockton of Falls Church is one of the people who were seriously injured that night. She is still in critical condition in the intensive care unit of Prince George's Hospital Center. Her prognosis is uncertain, but at least she is alive.
Rose M. Sharpe of Arlington knows that 25-year-old Nancy Stockton would not be alive without CPR -- and without two terrific people.
Rose is Nancy's mother-in-law. She wrote to me the other day to thank the gent upstairs, but also to try to reach the two fellow rock fans who saved Nancy's life.
The two fellow fans were just a few feet away when the lightning bolt hit. They immediately began administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The men revived Nancy, then lost her again. But they continued to administer CPR until Prince George's County paramedics arrived and took over.
If Nancy survives, there is no question that the two bystanders will be the reason. In a cardiac arrest situation, the first two minutes are the most critical. Because Nancy began receiving CPR within seconds, she has at least a chance of recovering.
But who were the two CPR-givers? Neither Rose nor any other member of the family knows. And Prince George's officials have no record, either. So Rose has asked me to issue a blanket thank-you to the two, in the hope that they are Levey readers.
"Wherever you are," Rose wrote, "I pray that God be with you and protect you. There are no words to express our thanks to you for giving Nancy a second chance at life."
As for you, gentle reader: Do you still say you're too busy to spend a couple of Saturday afternoons learning CPR?
Front and center, please, Brian Settles of Mount Rainier. You just drove a stake through the heart of a bad rumor. You are a 12-year-old kid, but you don't care only about video games and Reeboks. You went out of your way to help a woman who really needed it.
The scene was a drugstore near 12th and Monroe streets NE. Joanne Hill of Northeast was shopping for a few things. As women in a hurry will do, she put her pocketbook inside her briefcase for a few minutes so she'd have a free hand. And she left the pocketbook open.
Joanne felt it when the young woman bumped into her, but she thought nothing of it. She thought a lot more of it when Brian strolled up to her and asked if she'd like her wallet back.
Joanne asked him what he was talking about. "She just stole it. I saw her do it," Brian said. And he pointed at a 17-year-old girl who was standing in a nearby aisle.
Joanne checked to be sure her wallet was gone. It was. She walked over to the 17-year-old, who for some reason continued to stand there, rather than running, as most thieves surely would do.
Joanne demanded her wallet back. The 17-year-old threw a fit. "Are you calling me a thief? I'm not a thief!" she shouted.
Nice bluff, and Joanne knew it was a bluff. What she needed was a cop. She went outside to try to find one on the busy streets of Brookland, only too well aware of the adage about finding a cop when you need one.
She found one.
A detective happened to be sitting in a cruiser right across the street. He listened to Joanne's tale. Then he followed the 17-year-old into another nearby store, where passers-by had watched her go.
The detective searched the 17-year-old. No wallet. Then he searched the ladies' room, where store employes had seen her go. Wallet. On the sink. With Joanne's $25 and credit cards and other irreplaceables still inside.
Off went the 17-year-old, in handcuffs. And up to Brian Settles went Joanne Hill. She offered him a substantial reward.
Brian wouldn't accept it. Joanne insisted. Brian insisted. So Joanne gave in -- for the moment.
It's just for the moment, Brian.
"I'm going to give him a savings bond," Joanne said. "He can't not accept a savings bond."
Please accept the bond with good grace, Brian. If you want to spend it on video games or Reeboks, feel free. I can't think of a 12-year-old who has earned the privilege as richly as you have.
Thanks, Stanley R. Durkee of Bethesda, for a good gotcha.
The Smithsonian Institution advertised recently for a secretary/administrative assistant.
The ad copy said the requirements for the position included "organizational ability, familiarity with filing systems, excellent telephone skills and correct useage of the English language."
You find "useage" in the dictionary, and you can have the job.