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Aspiring nurse saves two lives while working as a waiter

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CHUBBUCK (KPVI) — A local waiter has saved two lives in less than a year and a half, and the desire to help others runs in the family.

Raul Cardenas, a father of four, is currently a server at Chapala Mexican Restaurant in Chubbuck. His dream is that of being a nurse and while he may not be a nurse, he’s already saving lives.

Just over a year ago, Cardenas performed CPR on a toddler at the restaurant.

“I don’t know what happened with the boy, but he turned really purple…but I gave him CPR – me and the (boy’s) grandfather – and the boy is good,” Cardena recalls.

So good that by the time paramedics showed up, he was fully responsive again.

As the boy regained consciousness Cardenas says he was a little confused. He adds, “The boy looked at me like – who’s this sir?”

Then, it happened again.

Just a few weeks ago, Cardenas performed the Heimlich maneuver on a woman choking on a chip. Again, Cardenas was able to help her before paramedics could arrive on scene.

The woman has since returned to Chapala to eat.

“She came in last Friday…and she’s okay.” Cardenas says, “She’s happy and I’m happy. Very happy.”

Cardenas’ eldest son, Juan, works at the restaurant with his father. Juan was there during both incidents.

“I felt kind of scared for my dad since he was the one taking charge of the whole situation,” Juan recounts. “I felt like it was more pressure on him than it was for anyone else.”

When a former neighbor of the family heard about Cardenas’ heroic acts, she set up a GoFundMe account called “Tips for Raul.” The goal: to raise $5,000.

The Cardenas family has plans to make sure that money is used to save even more lives.

“But now my son, he’s going to ISU,” Raul Cardenas says.

“Yeah, and I think I also want to study to become a nurse,” Juan adds.

The money will be used to put Juan through school, and when he becomes a nurse his dad has plans.

“Maybe when he’s finished, he’ll pay for my college,” Cardenas says through an enormous smile.

Cardenas says he learned how to perform both CPR and the Heimlich maneuver by watching health videos produced by ISU during his free time.

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