Simon Parish, of Bolsover, was about to drive off from the furniture store in Sheffield, on December 23 when he told his wife Karen he was feeling funny, stepped out of the car and collapsed.
The next thing the 48-year-old remembers is waking up at Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital on Christmas Eve.
Karen frantically flagged down a passing car and was indebted to the couple who stopped for them and to everyone else who came to their aid that evening and to the NHS staff who cared for Simon over the following days.
Simon said: “I’ve got a very sore chest from people doing CPR and I don’t have much recollection of what happened, but I’m just overjoyed I’m still here.
“I want to thank everyone who helped me ,because without them I wouldn’t be here today.
“In a couple of months’ time, I would like to shake them by the hand, take them to the pub and buy them whatever drinks they want, to say thank you.
“I want to thank the passers-by who helped me and Karen, the four paramedics who came, everyone in resuscitation and the critical coronary care unit at the Northern General Hospital, and to all the nurses, doctors and other staff on Firth Seven ward for everything they've done.
“What they did gives you faith in society, knowing even complete strangers will go out of their way like that to help you when you really need it.”
Simon spent two weeks in hospital before being sent home last Wednesday, January 5.
He is still recovering from the operation to fit a defibrillator which can restart his heart should it ever be needed.
He said that after numerous tests, medics remain in the dark about why his heart suddenly stopped beating.
Karen told how she had jumped in front of the first car she saw after Simon collapsed and if it had not been for the man and woman who leapt out and rushed to Simon’s aid, he would almost certainly be dead.
Simon was shocked twice by members of the public using the defibrillator situated at the store and a further three times by paramedics once they arrived at the scene.
He said, had it happened at home, without a defibrillator to hand, he may well not be here to tell the tale, and urged people not to be afraid to use the machines if one is available in an emergency.
He said: “Don’t be afraid because that person’s had a cardiac arrest and is to all intents and purposes dead.
"The instructions are straightforward and there’s nothing you can do to make it worse but you might be able to bring that person back.”
Karen also had some words of praise for everyone at the hospital, saying: “Even though they were short-staffed over Christmas, with people coming down with Covid, everyone was so helpful and made sure you got the best care possible.
"If you’re in hospital over Christmas, boy do they push the boat out. Simon got a full Christmas dinner and they even had a present for him. Considering the pressures the NHS is under, if you need them, they really deliver, and we’re so lucky to have the NHS.”
To find out how to apply for funding for a defibrillator where you live, visit aeddonate.org.uk