Browsing the aisles of his local fruit shop, Wollongong paramedic Mark McCarthy was ambushed by a smiling stranger with outstretched arms.
"It's you, you saved my life," the tearful man said.
"You're the one who saved me, you're the reason I'm still here."
It's not the first time Mr McCarthy has revived a heart attack victim.
But each time he sees a pulse return, it fuels his passion to convince people - with or without first aid training - that they too can reverse fate.
A sudden cardiac arrest doesn't have to spell death.
Mr McCarthy wants to kick-start a campaign in Wollongong to have defibrillators installed on street corners, accessible to everyone.
It's a concept gaining momentum in other countries and one he's urging the Illawarra to embrace.
"People often think 'I don't know what to do, what if I do something wrong?'
"My reply is any attempt is better than no attempt," Mr McCarthy said.
"This machine is not going to shock someone who doesn't need to be shocked."
Defibrillators come with step-by-step instructions, heard loud and clear.
The user is told exactly where to place chest pads, what button to press and when to press it.
Mr McCarthy believes more must be done to bust myths.
He is not alone. In a joint report to state and federal governments, St John Ambulance, the National Heart Foundation and the Australian Resuscitation Council said: "The perceived risk of doing more harm and the fear of litigation are both common misconceptions among the general public and private sector."
These misconceptions "unfortunately double as significant barriers to use and uptake [of defibrillators], both in Australia and overseas," their joint report found.
"There have been no cases within Australia where a person or business has been sued for using an AED [automated external defibrillator ] in an emergency situation."
Defibrillators can be found in airports, sporting arenas, shopping centres, hospitals, surf clubs and other buildings where people congregate.
But Mr McCarthy thinks more can be done.
"Most people don't know the machines are there and often they can't access them," he said.
That's where HEARTSafe Communities, popping up around the world, are streets ahead.
They promote CPR instruction, have publicly accessible defibrillators and promote aggressive resuscitation protocols for first responders and hospitals.
Once declared HEARTSafe - having met a set of criteria - communities erect street signs proclaiming their status.
The first HEARTSafe program began in Massachusetts in 2002.
Programs exist across the US and have spread to Ireland and New Zealand.
Mr McCarthy believes Wollongong could lead the way for Australian communities if councils, community groups and businesses catch on.
Defibrillators cost about $2000 each.
Mr McCarthy is calling for suggestions on the most appropriate locations for public defibrillators to be installed.
"A few suggestions I have would be WIN Stadium, the Bathers' Pavilion, City Beach," he said.
"It gets a bit tricky when we look at somewhere like Thirroul, for example, finding a central point, but we could get suggestions. Should we put one, for example, at Sea Cliff Bridge?"
Mr McCarthy has put the call out for an Illawarra company to supply brackets for the machine.
He will roll out training free of charge - through Wollongong First Aid - and he's urging other first aid training course providers to join him.
Given the statistics, it's hard to argue against such an initiative.
The survival rate for people who have a cardiac arrest outside hospital is 3 per cent to 4 per cent. When an ambulance responds, 6 per cent to 8 per cent survive.
Studies show that when sudden cardiac arrest victims receive defibrillation therapy within two minutes of collapse, more than 90 per cent survive.
"When I see it happen [a pulse return], I laugh. I get so excited I cheer 'Yoo hoo'. It's amazing, it gives me my passion for this," he said.
Steps to becoming a HEARTSafe Community:
• Find five or six like-minded people willing to do the groundwork to engage the community.
• Identify pockets of people at high risk of cardiac arrest.
• Identify places where large numbers of people gather and community groups may be interested in taking part.
• Identify organisations that may help fund the program.
• Pinpoint existing defibrillator sites and establish whether or not business owners are willing to allow them to be used for out-of-hospital cardiac arrests.