BOONE, Iowa -- On a normal day, people say a rest stop along I-35 is quiet with travelers coming and going, but Boone resident Brenda Perry and her family had a different experience.
"When I walked out of the rest area, my mother was dead. She had no pulse and she was not breathing," said Brandi Stuart.
Brenda Perry was having a heart attack, and her family is floored by what happened next.
“This man walks in and he immediately says, 'what happened,' and I say, 'I have no clue, she just collapsed.' He says, 'ma’am, I'm a nurse, it's okay'" said Stuart.
The off-duty nurse gave Perry CPR, which doctors say saved her life.
“The doctors told you that if she did not get immediate medical attention, she would have been dead,” Stuart said.
Amidst the commotion, the family never got to thank the man they call their guardian angel.
“If it didn’t happen the way that it happened, then I wouldn't be here. And I’m thankful for everybody," said Perry.
Stuart added, "He's the one we didn’t get to thank."
Some may call what happened luck or even good timing, but Perry's family calls it something else.
“Divine intervention," said Stuart.
"I feel like the whole experience has been angel combined, from the nurse at the rest area to the doctors that worked on my heart," Stuart said.
This family says putting together what happened starts with thanking the good Samaritan who stopped to help.