The first time Dr. Andi Traynor "kissed" boyfriend Max Montgomery, they were on their first date and she barely knew him.
She also saved his life.
Montgomery, 56, ended up picking the perfect companion when he and Traynor, 45, had a paddlesurfing session for a first date that turned into a harrowing day at the beach near his home in Santa Cruz, California, in October of last year.
"If she's not there, I'm dead,'' Montgomery said on TODAY Friday.
As the two walked back from the ocean, Montgomery collapsed on the beach and was quickly unconscious.
Their first date nearly ended up being their last, as Montgomery was suffering from a heart attack. Traynor, who is an obstetrical anesthesiologist at Stanford University, jumped into action by turning him over and administering CPR.
She gave him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and that "first kiss" helped save his life. The frightening scene was caught on film by Alexander Baker, a videographer who happened to be shooting a time-lapse video on the beach.
Montgomery remained unconscious while Traynor gave him CPR, eventually waking up in the ambulance as paramedics rushed him to the hospital while using a defibrillator to shock his heart back to life.
He was told his heart stopped for 17 minutes. Traynor stayed behind at the urging of the paramedics as she tried to process a first date for the ages.
"When they took him away in the ambulance I had a lot of thoughts running through my head, the first of which was, 'What kind of luck is this?''' Traynor said on TODAY. "I don't know what just happened, but I think he just died on me."
The heart attack was surprising given that Montgomery is in great shape and even ran 10.4 miles the night before. However, his family has a history of heart disease, including a grandparent and aunt who both died at 48 from heart issues.
The next day, Montgomery underwent bypass surgery to repair a blocked artery. His relationship with Traynor also survived, as the two remain together nearly a year later.
"When she came and visited me in the hospital, I said, 'Who wants to be with the guy who just had a heart attack? I understand if you run for the hills,' and she said, 'I'm here, this is where I want to be,''' Montgomery said.
They have turned their memorable first date into a worthy cause by starting a nonprofit, Paddle4Good, to teach other paddleboarders CPR and raise awareness about the life-saving technique.
Traynor's quick actions on the beach that day also made sure the couple were able to enjoy a second kiss.
"It was much better,'' Montgomery said. "I remembered it."
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