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

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — Atlanta movie mogul Tyler Perry is stepping up again, this time to help a local couple stuck in Mexico.

It all started when Stephen Johnson, of Sandy Springs, went into diabetic shock while on a cruise.

The couple told Channel 2 investigative reporter Justin Gray on Friday morning that Perry is helping to bring them home and paid off the $14,000 medical bill the hospital was charging them.

The hospital in Progresso, Mexico, stopped treating Johnson when a billing dispute started. Now doctors say he's dehydrated and needs fluids and oxygen before he can travel.

“Who would think Tyler Perry would be calling?” Johnson told Gray over Facetime.

Johnson said he got the call from the media mogul after Perry saw Johnson's story on "Good Morning America."

“He said, 'I’m going to pay your bill, and I’m going to bring you home.' Plain as he could say, he said, ‘You’re coming home,’” Johnson said.


Johnson was rushed to the Mexican hospital after going into diabetic shock. 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.

When Gray first Facetimed with Johnson and his fiancée Wednesday, they had reached out to friends, family and the American Embassy looking for a way home.

Lori Silverman, with Clark Howard’s Consumer Action Center, said there are steps you can take to prevent the nightmare that the Johnsons are now going through.

“It’s actually quite simple. You can just buy insurances, medical insurance, for when you travel abroad. And it’s really quite inexpensive,” Silverman told Gray.

Johnson said he is just ready for the ordeal to be over.

“Tyler, he is truly saving my life. He is rescuing me. Tyler is rescuing me, and I will never, ever forget this,” Johnson said.

Johnson's mother told Gray he will likely have to stay in the hospital through the weekend.

The hospital told our investigative partners at

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

that they do accept health insurance and that Johnson did not have health insurance and didn’t know he had diabetes.