The kiss of life

In the last few weeks there has been an outcry after Luis Rubiales president of the Spanish Football federation kissed Jenny Hermoso, a Spanish footballer, on the lips without her consent, at the award ceremony of the Women’s World Cup. The incident went viral and was the cause of his dismissal as president. The gesture barely lasted a second, but that brief act was considered unacceptable and triggered a wave of consequences that led to him being suspended.


I would like to contrast this degrading “kiss on the lips” by Luis Rubiales who abused his power and wounded the dignity of Jenny Hermoso, with another kiss on the lips “the kiss of life” that Thompson gave Randall, moved by great care and concern for his colleague, which gave him back his life.


“The kiss of life” was captured by a photographer, named Morabito, when he took his famous photo of a worker assisting his colleague who had suffered an electric shock of 4000 volts. In those eternal seconds in which Randall’s life had stopped at 29, his colleague Thompson got off the pole where he worked, more than 100 meters away, ran desperately towards Randall’s pole and climbed as fast as he could the six meters that separated his colleague from the floor.


Randall had touched the power cord with his hand and an electric shock pierced his body almost without him noticing. He had grabbed the hot wire with his four fingers and the electric current had rushed through his body leaving him unconscious. He was hanging from his harness upside down, and his heart had stopped beating. There was no time to lose, no chance to get the body down without missing the only opportunity to revive it.

The kiss of life

Thompson tried to remember all the steps of the first aid course he had been taught when he entered the company and realizing that he could not let time pass, he formed a seal with his lips and blew air into the mouth of his lifeless coworker. He struck his chest with his fist until he felt a faint pulse, before lowering him from the pole.


Randall had CPR on the ground and recovered there, surrounded by his colleague. When the paramedics arrived, the most important work was done. The injuries he suffered from the terrible shock included a severe burn on his foot that required a skin graft and several months of recovery. It was a real miracle, or maybe an anniversary present. That day marked four years since he had joined the Jacksonville electric company.

Looking back

50 years later Thompson recalled that dramatic and inspiring scene. “I was only 26 years old, and still remember those moments with emotion. Many people after an electric shock of such caliber have died instantly. Few have survived. It’s just a matter of how long you’re hooked. The position he was in wasn’t very good. I actually had to breathe through his mouth and make this work. If I didn’t do it properly, the stomach would inflate and no air would enter the lungs. I was putting air in him as hard as I could go and also trying to reach round him and hit him in the chest. And all of a sudden, he came to.” Randall recovered and continued to work at the electric company as did Thompson, with whom he maintained a friendship that lasted decades.


The news went viral thanks to the photographer, Morabito, who immortalized the incident by taking a historic photo for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for photography. Thompson downplayed his act of heroism and says it was Morabito’s photo that transformed that routine rescue among the employees of the electric company into an unforgettable event.



clwakeling2The kiss of life