Tyler Perry offers to help a couple come home from Mexico after hospital bill problems
Despite being a businessman, Tyler Perry has always found a way to give back. This time, Tyler Perry donated financial support to help a couple from Sandy Springs, Georgia, who said they’re being held hostage at a hospital in Mexico.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Stephen Johnson went into diabetic shock while he and his fiancé, Tori Austin, were on a Carnival cruise. He was treated by doctors in the port city of Progreso.
But hospital staffers would not let him leave without paying a massive $14,000 bill. Austin told the newspaper that the hospital administration refused to sign her fiancé’s release form without getting paid upfront.
Hospital staffers and local police reportedly stopped the couple from leaving the facility multiple times. One time, the hospital administrator forced them back into the hospital with a lid of a pulled off trash can, she said.
“It was three or four of them, and they just kept pushing me, and I had to hold on to the rail. I was going to start swinging and throwing and punching because I was scared,” Johnson told CBS News.
“I appreciate them saving my life, but they can’t hold me captive,” Johnson told the local CBS affiliate during an interview earlier this week. “That’s not right.”
The hospital accepts credit cards and private health insurance. Johnson did not have private insurance. The credit card limits were less than $14,000.
“We’ve never been in this situation before. We’re used to the United States, where if you don’t have insurance, they’ll bill you, and we can pay it,” Austin said. “It’s not that we’re trying to get out of paying the bill. We don’t have the money right now.”
Johnson never went on a cruise before and had no idea he even had diabetes before the incident.
On Friday, a spokeswoman for Centro Medico Americano hospital told the AJC that Johnson is not being held captive. Instead, he is still too sick to travel.
“He arrived in grave condition,” the spokeswoman said. “Aside from his kidney failure and dialysis, he also has other problems and had to be treated by the cardiologist and other specialists … Right now, he is not in a condition to even travel on a commercial plane. He would have to fly in an ambulance.”
Once the story went viral, representatives for Tyler Perry said he would cover the couple’s hospital bill and fly them home.
“He said, ‘I’m going to pay your bill, and I’m gonna bring you home,’” Johnson told CBS after receiving a phone call from the cross-dressing, chitlin circuit urban theater mastermind. “He is truly saving my life. He is rescuing me.”
“I owe him my life, and I hope to get to meet him when I get back to Atlanta because he deserved the biggest hug,” he added.
It is important to note; Tyler Perry went from being homeless to one of the biggest Hollywood influencers. Since then, he has always helped the underserved community. Earlier this year, Tyler Perry paid for the funeral of a mother of four who was shot and killed outside a bank near Atlanta. He also offered to cover the cost of the family’s rent for six months.