Doordash driver finds injured woman, helps save her life


“She was my guardian angel,” the woman who fell told media outlets. “If I didn’t have her, I’d probably be dead.”

Fairhaven Police Department

DoorDash driver Sophia Furtado didn’t just drop off a pizza to a customer. In a moment of crisis, she also delivered help to save the woman’s life.

Furtado took action to save her customer from a dire fall after she found Caryn Herbert Sullivan bleeding and unconscious in front of her Massachusetts home in early 2022, according to the Fairhaven Police Department.

Now, the New Bedford DoorDasher has been formally recognized for saving a life — and invited to train to become an emergency medical technician.

“Any first responder can tell you, what Sophia did that night was not something anyone would just do,” the police department said in a statement. “Those that have worked long enough in this field have seen people walk away, run away, drive away, pull out their phone, or simply just watch. Sophia sprung into action. … She saved a life.”

Furtado, 26, was dropping off a pizza at Sullivan’s home in February, according to TODAY. It was one of her last orders of the night.

Sullivan’s husband fell asleep while they waited for the pizza, WJAR reported, so she went outside to meet the driver.

That’s when it happened, Sullivan told WJAR.

“While I was standing there, my knee let go and my arm let go. I don’t really remember too much. I remember falling and seeing a lot of white in my face,” Sullivan said.

Furtado approached with the DoorDash order and noticed Sullivan on the ground. The woman was bleeding from her head and unresponsive, according to police.

“I immediately freaked out, so I go into the house and go get her husband. I said, ‘Your wife is at the bottom of the steps and bleeding really badly!’” Furtado told WJAR.

Issuing life-saving medical care is far from a DoorDasher’s job description, but Furtado had some training as an EMT.

As Furtado and Sullivan’s husband contacted 911, Furtado asked for towels and blankets and used a pillow to apply gentle pressure onto Sullivan’s head, where she was still bleeding, according to police.

She also stabilized the woman’s head in an effort to prevent a spinal injury, police said.

When police arrived, they were “thrilled” to hear that Furtado had some EMT experience, TODAY reported.

“Sophia became a part of our team. She made it clear she wasn’t going anywhere,” police said in the release. “She helped officers apply a trauma dressing and streamlined information gathering. She stayed on scene with us until medics arrived and assisted medics until transport.”

Sullivan went into emergency surgery at 2 a.m. for severe brain bleeds on the night of the incident, according to police.

The doctor told authorities that Sullivan would have died if there had been any delay in emergency response, the release said.

“She was my guardian angel,” Sullivan told WJAR. “If I didn’t have her, I’d probably be dead.”

After weeks in the hospital and months in rehab for her brain injury, Sullivan is on the road to recovery, police said.

On April 20, Sullivan and her family were able to attend the Fairhaven Police Department’s event honoring Furtado for her heroic actions.

According to WJAR, Furtado and Sullivan became friends after the incident.

Furtado was given a Life Saving Award on behalf of the police department and a $1,000 DoorDash scholarship to fund her educational endeavors.

GMEC-EMT offered a discounted price on its EMT program, a passion that Furtado told WJAR she was pursuing before she had children.

“Thank you to the Fairhaven Police Department for gifting me this award,” Furtado commented on the police department’s Facebook page. “I’m happy Mrs. Sullivan is doing very well and that my efforts got her to the hospital quickly! Thank you everyone for your kind words.”

“Thank you again to Officer Jillian for putting this all together for our family and Sophia’s,” Sullivan’s daughter commented on Facebook. “I am so grateful to have my mom today.”

Alison Cutler is a National Real Time Reporter for the Southeast at McClatchy. She graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University and previously worked for The News Leader in Staunton, VA, a branch of USAToday.

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