One father’s Thanksgiving trip ended up saving his life


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — It’s a blessing.

That’s the way Cedric Castro explains it when he remembers the events that led to his father’s sudden illness, something that with a misbooked flight and almost ended in tragedy.

Bernaldo Castro intended on visiting his son and the family during the week of Thanksgiving, but ended up accidentally flying in from California a week earlier.

“I told him the date range, but I gave him the wrong dates,” Cedric said. “It turns out I gave him the week prior to Thanksgiving week, so he turned out to be coming out here a week earlier than he should’ve but it was a blessing, it really was.”

November 22

While on a walk with his son, Bernaldo Castro said he began to feel an uncomfortable feeling in his chest and stomach. He told his Cedric he would lie down until he felt better.

But better never came. At 80 years old, Bernaldo Castro began feeling the tell-tale signs of cardiac arrest, which began with a tingling in his chest.

Bernaldo told Cedric he needed to go to the hospital. Not thinking his symptoms were life-threatening, Cedric prepared to take his father to urgent care, where his father’s symptoms started getting worse.

As they were getting out of the car to head into urgent care, Bernaldo could no longer felt any control over his body and collapsed. Luckily, Cedric was there to guide his body to the ground and call for help.

The medical team assisted with aspirin while Cedric called paramedics, who were able to get him to Brookwood Baptist Medical Center to undergo triple bypass surgery.

Today, Bernaldo Castro is a survivor.

This comes as no surprise to his family who says he was built to stand the test of time. Bernaldo has experienced some rough injuries in his life.

The Castro family considers the misbooked flight a blessing in disguise. The Castros believe that had he visited during Thanksgiving week, Bernaldo would have had the heart attack alone at home or on the flight to Birmingham.

“I made a mistake in giving him incorrect dates, but I think in my heart I was supposed to do that… I was supposed to invite him here a week earlier,” Cedric said.

To this day, Bernaldo cannot believe what unfolded.

“It is a blessing in disguise because why would I be here early. Why? I still don’t understand that,” he said.

November 22 also happens to be another special day for Bernaldo, the day he and his wife, Heidi, first married 35 years ago. Heidi passed away last March.

Cedric said his brother felt like on November 22, their mother was tugging on Bernaldo’s heart a little bit on that day.

On Dec. 6, Bernaldo had surgery and has been recovering in Birmingham with his family, spending Christmas and the upcoming New Year with them.

Both Cedric and Bernaldo say they only have God to thank.


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