HONOLULU (KHON2) - A tree-trimmer is being called a hero. Thanks to his willingness to help, a man he never met before is still alive.
Takai Kapeli Takai and Robyn Preza shared an emotional hug Thursday afternoon as Preza thanked Takai for saving his father's life.
Preza said his dad, Ronaldo Preza, 51, was driving him to work around 10:50 a.m. Tuesday when it happened.
"We was at the stop light on Kalihi Street and I was looking forward to the road and I hear him say, 'Oh no.' I turned to him and I looked at him. I thought he was having a seizure. I didn't know what was happening until I saw his face turn purple," Preza explained.
Preza's father went into cardiac arrest. Preza called 911, but said he didn't know CPR.
"I felt helpless. I literally didn't know what to do to try to save him. I was just calling out for help," Preza said.
Their car was stopped at the red light on Nimitz Highway. Right next to their car was a crew trimming trees.
Hala Toa Mui Contractors Inc. had the left lane on Nimitz Highway blocked off for tree trimming that morning. Takai and his five coworkers were there.
"I was still on top of the prune truck, just looking around, because I finished cutting the trees. When I look around at their car, he's reaching over his father doing something to his face and on the phone at the same time," Takai said.
Takai said he knew something was wrong, so he rushed to help.
"I opened the car and tried to put down the seat for him to lie back and I try do CPR inside," Takai said.
Takai was unable to perform CPR with Ronaldo Preza in the car, so he called his coworkers over the help get him out of the car onto the ground.
"I do what I can do until they came. The firefighter came and they took over and then the ambulance came too," Takai explained.
Takai said he didn't hesitate because he had been a firefighter at Tonga International Airport for seven years before he moved to Hawaii.
"I still have that feeling of saving lives anywhere I go. It only makes sense when you see if you think you can help, you help," Takai said.
The Prezas are forever grateful.
"He's an angel," said Vicky Preza, Ronaldo Preza's sister-in-law. "Our family cannot thank him enough, because Ronaldo would not make it to the hospital if it was not for Takai, the company, his friends that helped."
Vicky Preza said Takai is like family now. He not only helped save Ronaldo Preza's life, he's visited him in the hospital every night since the accident.
"He offered my sister help, offered her money, but she didn't want to accept it. He left it there. That's how great he is," Vicky Preza said.
She said seeing what Takai did for her family is a reminder that there is hope.
"I want everybody to know that good people are still out here. We hear a lot of bad news, but there are good people still," she said.
Ronaldo Preza is still in the hospital. The Preza family would like to ask everyone to keep him in their prayers.
For information on how to get CPR certified, visit aedinstitute.com or call (808) 440-8988.