• Tyler Perry stepping in to help couple stuck at Mexican hospital

    By: Justin Gray, WSBTV.com

    Updated:
    SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. -

    Atlanta movie mogul Tyler Perry is stepping up to help a couple stuck in a Mexican hospital return to the United States

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    This started with a call to WSB-TV

    The Sandy Springs couple and their family texted the newsroom for the past two days, since a story aired and they were still trapped in a hospital room.

    On Friday morning, Stephen Johnson got a call from Perry.

    The Atlanta mogul was watching "Good Morning America" Friday morning and saw the couple's story.

    He has offered to pay their medical bills and for their transportation back to Atlanta.

    It all started when Johnson went into diabetic shock on a Carnival cruise with his fiancée Tori Austin.

    He was rushed to a hospital in Progreso, Mexico, and after being treated in the intensive care unit for three days, he was given a $14,000 bill and physically prevented from leaving the hospital until he paid it.

    "I appreciate them saving my life, but they can't hold me captive,” Johnson told WSB-TV in an interview this week. “That's not right.”

    The couple reached out to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico and thousands of dollars were raised stateside to get them out of the hospital and back home.

    In a statement Friday morning, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs confirmed they were looking into the matter, saying the welfare of and safety of U.S. citizens traveling abroad is one of their top priorities.  

    “We can confirm a U.S. citizen is being treated at a hospital in Progreso,” the bureau said in a statement. “On November 21, a consular officer visited the U.S. citizen in the hospital. We are monitoring the situation closely.”

    Moments after the statement was released, representatives for Tyler Perry told WSB-TV that he would cover the couple’s hospital bill and fly them home. 

     

    Perry, who this week hosted the Democratic presidential candidates for a debate at his Atlanta studio, is no stranger to charitable giving.

    In March, he paid for the funeral of an Alpharetta mother of four who was shot and killed outside a bank. He also offered to cover the cost of the family’s rent for six months.

    It’s unclear how long it may take to get Johnson and Austin back to Atlanta.

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this report.

     

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