Bizarre is one way to put it, an urban legend that’s become real could be another after a Hawthorne woman says she was cut by a razor blade while searching through a pile of kitchen towels at Target.
It allegedly happened at the Target store on 120th Street in Hawthorne, near Crenshaw Boulevard, on July 3. Danielle Herrera says she was shopping for new things for her apartment when she kneeled down to search through a pile of kitchen towels that appeared unorganized.
"I grabbed it and I felt and I dropped everything and there was blood everywhere," she says.
Herrera, a UCLA student who works with child abuse victims, says she was lucky to have had a tetanus shot within the past six months and doctors at the hospital later cleared her of any infection. But now she worries about why that blade may have been there in the first place.
"I left a good puddle of blood before I was able to get any help," she said. "Three Target employees passed by without knowing what to do before an actual customer, who thank God happened to be an EMT, he got on his hands and knees to help me."
That EMT was Justin Sharp, an EMT with Explorer-1 Ambulance based in Compton, who happened to be shopping for a blender just one aisle over.
"It was a nasty cut, it was deep because of the blade itself, it was very sharp," he says. "I made sure she was all right and we ended up disinfecting the area.”
Herrera says Target employees did not know where to find the store’s first aid kit and that Sharp had them grab items off the shelves in the pharmacy section.
"Anyone could’ve been hurt," Sharp says. "Who would do that? Why would then hide a razor blade under a towel where there’s people shopping?"
In a statement from Target, the company says its team at the store acted quickly.
Spokeswoman Molly Snyder sent the following to NBC4: "At Target, the safety and security of our guests and team members is one of our top priorities and we immediately worked directly with this guest following this incident. Following the incident, the team did a full sweep and review of that area and has followed post-incident procedures. In addition, we have reminded the team of our safe and secure protocol."
Target would not allow NBC4 access to surveillance video of the aisle where the incident allegedly occurred and would not discuss what might be seen in that video.
For Herrera, she thanks the good Samaritan who helped bandage her wound but says she worries about why the blade ended up there in the first place.
"There’s people out there that do these kinds of things," she says. "We don’t know if it was negligence on a bad person's part or the store's part or if somebody was trying to steal and leaving something behind."
Hawthorne Police arrived to the scene but did not file a police report. Herrera filled out an incident report with the store. Herrera says Target kept the razor blade to send to its insurance company but a spokesperson for Target did not answer questions about it.
"I kept telling my parents I’m glad it was me," Herrera says. "But I’m just hoping there’s not one hidden in the toy section."
As for Herrera’s good Samaritan, she says she believes he was an angel who was in the right place at the right time. Sharp says he was just doing his job.
"I don’t expect recognition," he says. "I just did what I was supposed to do.”