Tyler Perry Offers to Bring Stranded Couple Home From Mexico After Messy Hospital Bill Drama

Illustration for article titled Tyler Perry Offers to Bring Stranded Couple Home From Mexico After Messy Hospital Bill Drama
Photo: AP

Tyler Perry to the rescue.

The entertainment mogul continues throwing his money aroundwith a true spirit of altruism.


This time, Perry has donated financial support to a couple from Sandy Springs, Ga., who said they were 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 ship and was later treated by doctors in the port city of Progreso.

But hospital staffers wouldn’t let him leave without paying a hefty $14,000 bill upfront.

Austin told the newspaper that the hospital administrator refused to sign her fiance’s release form without getting the money upfront.

“I asked how much the bill was and told them we’d figure it out when we got home,” she said.

“She said, ‘Oh, no. It has to be paid now.’”

Like they do in the hood nail salons?


Hospital staffers and local police reportedly physically barred the couple from leaving the facility on multiple occasions. One time, the hospital administrator forced them back inside the building with a lid she pulled off a trashcan, 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.

Yo, WTFIRGOITW? (What The Fizzuck Is Really Going On In The World?)

“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 private health insurance and credit cards. Johnson did not have private insurance and the couple’s 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 just don’t have the money right now.”


Johnson, who had never been on a cruise before, said he had no idea he even had diabetes before the cruise incident.

On Friday, a spokeswoman for Centro Medico Americano hospital told AJC that Johnson isn’t being held captive, and is still too ill 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 gained traction and support of the public started rolling in, representatives for Perry said that 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.

Perry, who went from homelessness to Hollywood, is no stranger to lending a helping hand.


In 2012, the Madea-made mogul used his private plane to fly the body of late, great pop icon Whitney Houston from Los Angeles to her hometown of Newark, N.J., where he along with many of her famous friends later eulogized her during a star-studded funeral.

Earlier this year, Perry reportedly 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.

Hailing from "the thorough borough" of Brooklyn, Mr. Daniels has written for The New York Times, Associated Press, CNN, Essence, VIBE, NBC News, The Daily Beast, The New York Daily News and Word Up!



FYI, folks. If you have enough money to travel internationally, you have enough money to protect yourself in case of medical emergency. You need two things:

1. Travel insurance. You can get this cheaply from sites like travelinsurance.com or squarmouth. Compare plans and pick the right one for you. If you have a pre-existing condition, remember you need a plan that specifically waives limits on pre-existing conditions and usually you have to pay for these plans within 7-21 days of your first ever payment on your trip.

2. You need a subscription to a medical emergency evacuation service like Medjet. You can get an annual membership or one that lasts just 7 days. These services actually repatriate you in case of medical emergency. Although your travelers’ insurance will claim it will cover medical evac, what it will really cover is medical evac to the nearest hospital that can treat you. That’s not bringing you home. You need Medjet or another service like it to get home without a hit to your 401K.


Don’t skimp on these vital services to save money. The costs to protect yourself in case of medical emergency is worth more than gambling that nothing happens.