Off-duty reserve SFPD officer saves drowning boy


It is hard to believe that just a few days ago, 15-month-old Sayeed Anwar was teetering near death. "He did not look good. He looked purple. No response, not breathing," Sayeed's father Zab recalled. Little Sayeed was lifeless and limp, found face down by his dad in their koi pond. The little boy had slipped, unseen, just minutes before, through the sliding door that someone left open. "And, I just grab him and ran outside in the street, and just screaming my lungs out for help," Zab said.

"I heard somebody come outside of their house and was screaming, 'Help me. Help me,'" Robert Cathey said. Down the street, he happened to be outside playing with his kids and ran to Zab. Robert knew CPR and went to work. "He didn't have a pulse when I started CPR. He wasn't breathing," he said.

As Zab called 9-1-1, Robert continued chest compressions on the baby. He says it seemed like an hour passed by, but it was only about a minute. "He took that gasp for air. His pulse came back," he recalled. "Then, I heard his voice crying. I can't tell you the feeling," Zab said.

Seconds later, first responders arrived. Robert says they told him had he not performed CPR, Sayeed likely would have died. "I was thankful it worked," Robert said.

Now, if you're thinking to yourself that Robert seems pretty calm. It's because he is. He is a reserve police officer with the San Francisco Police Department. His neighbor's cries for help were answered by a stranger, a neighbor who is now a hero. "If it wasn't for him, we wouldn't have this little boy," Zab said.

The two families lived next to each other for more than a year and had never even spoken to each other until the accident. The boy's father says he is going to get rid of the koi pond.

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