WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — It was just another day at the gym for Bridget Kleismit, when she started her workout at the Wright Field Fitness Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force base.
With plans to spend time on the treadmill followed by light weight lifting, Kleismit hoped to get a quick workout in before work.
But what started off as a normal day quickly turned into what could have one of the worst days of her life.
While on the treadmill, Kleismit, a diabetic, started to feel dizzy. Checking her blood sugar monitor, the levels seemed fine, but she decided to end the workout early and head for the locker room.
In the locker room, she started to experience a medical emergency. With rapidly falling blood sugar levels, she started to become lethargic, and fell into a locker. For approximately 40 minutes, an estimated 50-60 people walked passed her and didn’t offer to help.
“I couldn’t move, I couldn’t walk to my car or do much of anything,” said Kleismit. “People were coming in the locker room; people were on their phones; they were changing; they were walking right by me. It was like I wasn’t even there.”
Fortunately for Kleismit, Staff Sgt. Chaya Lambright was in the gym that day.
When Lambright walked into the locker room, she immediately noticed something was wrong.
“As soon as she [Lambright] saw me, she ran over and asked what was wrong and if I was okay,” Kleismit said. “She then stayed with me as I took my sugar pills, and made sure my numbers came up, that I was feeling better, and that I wasn’t alone during this scary incident.”
When Kleismit got in to work, she went straight to her boss Col. Jeff Hamblin, division chief for the Fighters and Bombers Special Projects Division, and told him what happened at the gym.
“When Bridget told me the story, she was glowing,” said Hamblin, during a recent surprise visit to the 711 Human Performance Wing to recognize Lambright in front of her colleagues. “She kept talking about her ‘Locker Room Angel,’ and I was like who is this Locker Room Angel? But Bridget never got her name.”
“I didn’t get her name at the time because of the medical state I was in,” Kleismit said. “I realized this when I started to feel better. I went back to the locker room to get her name and thank her, but she was already gone.”
A few days after telling her boss the story, Kleismit noticed Lambright at the gym, thanked her for helping, got her name, and then helped coordinate the surprise thank you visit.
“The amazing thing is that you all [711th HPW] have somebody who epitomizes all of the training we do,” said Hamblin. “You have someone who, as soon as she walked into the locker room, instantly recognized that there was a problem and went to help.”
Hamblin presented Lambright with a Special Projects Division patch, a numbered Special Projects coin and certificate with the new call sign, “Locker Room Angel.”
Hamblin also presented her with a letter.
“Somewhere along the line, there were some great parents, or great grandparents, brother, or sister that got you where you are today,” said Hamblin speaking to Lambright. “So I wrote them a letter, for you to give them on behalf of my team, thanking them for raising such a great kid.”
Lambright, who is a medical laboratory technician, said that it was her training that made her stop to assist Kleismit.
“Before being trained in the medical field, I may just have walked by,” said Lambright. “The medical field teaches you if something is wrong or doesn’t look right just stop and ask, because you never know if you are going to stop a suicide or domestic violence or something like that. All they [other person] can say is everything is fine and move on. But you can at least stop. It only takes half a second.”
“Thank you for stopping,” said Kleismit. “You are my Locker Room Angel.”