A Carnival Cruise vacation turned into a nightmare for a couple from Georgia. Stephen Johnson and his fiancée Tori Austin were enjoying themselves on a trip down to Mexico when suddenly Stephen fell ill. According to CBS News, he collapsed while on the ship, and because they were docked at the port city of Progreso, he was sent to a hospital there.


Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Stephen was reportedly treated with a ventilator and given dialysis to save his life. However, when the couple attempted to leave to make their way home, the staff wouldn't let them go. They were met with a $14K hospital bill and told that until they paid up, in full, they weren't allowed to leave.

"I still feel like a captive now because I can't leave," Stephen reportedly told CBS News while at the hospital. "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." The couple asked if they could pay in installments but their request was denied. Stephen doesn't have insurance, but the State Department shared that even if he had, there was no guarantee it would cover his hospital costs.

After their story was shared in the American media, Georgia-based mogul Tyler Perry agreed to step in and offered to help them out by paying the entirety of their bill. "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," said Stephen. Both Stephen and Tori are ready to run, not walk, out of that hospital, however, the doctors shared that he's not yet well enough to travel.

The State Department was reportedly aware of the couple's predicament and someone has been sent to the Mexican city on their behalf. Note for all: travel medical insurance may be key.