Entertainment

A Hospital In Mexico Was Keeping A Couple From Leaving Until They Paid Their Bill In Full And Tyler Perry Helped Them Out

Imagine: you and your boo are on your dream vacation, kicking back and sipping chelas on a Mexican cruise. Suddenly, one of you gets sick—like, really sick, and you’re rushed to a hospital in Mexico in critical condition. It sounds like a nightmare, right? Well, this happened to an American couple about a week ago. When they were faced with a $14,000 medical bill, film mogul Tyler Perry took immediate action to help them out.

Tori Austin’s fiancé, Stephen Johnson, suffered a sudden medical emergency while on a Carnival Dream cruise ship. He was diagnosed on board with diabetes, pancreatitis, and a kidney infection that required urgent dialysis. He was rushed to Centro Médico Americano, a private Mexican hospital in the city of Progreso.

A health administrator told NBC News that Johnson was “near death” when he finally made it to the medical center on November 14.

Credit: Unsplash

“He suffered kidney failure and is currently undergoing dialysis,” the administrator said. Johnson received three days of intensive care, which included an endoscopy and dialysis. After everything was said and done, the hospital bill totaled $14,000 and the hospital, Centro Médico Americano, prevented the couple from leaving until the bill was paid in full. Austin even claimed that hospital staffers locked the windows to ensure that they could not leave, and threatened to call the police if the couple tried to take off.

Whether or not those steps were actually taken by hospital staff, preventing patients from leaving before paying their bills in full is not unusual for private hospitals in Mexico. Many of these hospitals require patients, especially international patients, to pay their fees upfront, because they don’t have an effective way of billing patients after they have been discharged. If they don’t have travel insurance, Centro Médico Americano does try to help patients find a way to pay through credit cards or money transfers, but what if you just don’t have the means to cover the cost?

Well, you hope that Tyler Perry gets word of your situation.

After seeing a news report on the couple’s dilemma, Tyler Perry contacted Austin and sent a payment to cover the bill, which by that time amounted to more than $16,000.

Credit: tylerperry / Instagram

Perry also offered to pay the couple’s travel expenses back to Atlanta once they were permitted to leave the hospital. According to NBC News, Centro Médico Americano said on Saturday that they had not yet received Perry’s payment. However, the hospital did note that international transfers typically take several days to process, and conceded that the couple would be free to go on Monday if Johnson was healthy enough to travel. In the meantime, Austin expressed her gratitude for Perry’s support.

“Today I am thankful for and will always be thankful for Tyler Perry,” she wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday. She also shared positive feelings about Carnival Dream, affirming that the company “has been great” and that she will continue to “only cruise with them.” Additionally, in spite of this chaotic experience, Austin wrote that she would definitely continue to travel to Mexico in the future.

“What is going on with Stephen has nothing to do with the entire country, it has to do with this particular hospital,” she wrote. “We were unaware that this particular hospital and administration staff have been known to take American passports and hold them for payment.”

“I love MEXICO and the Culture,” she added. “I’ll be back again but will leave on my own terms. We have no ill feelings for the country or the people, just this hospital.”

Credit: Tori Austin / Facebook

The website of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico informs U.S. citizens that unexpected hospitalizations in Mexico can be “a difficult experience.” They recommend that if a traveler ends up in a Mexican hospital, they should “obtain the estimated cost of proposed treatments, request an itemized bill every day, and, if uncomfortable with costs, change hospitals if medically possible.” The Embassy states that hospital quality in Mexico varies, and there are different types of hospitals with a range of protocols.  

The Embassy also confirms that the couple’s experience is not unique, warning that “while most U.S. citizens have acceptable hospitalization experiences in Mexico, some have reported hospitals failing to provide an itemized list of charges, withholding U.S. passports, and delaying medical evacuations.” The Embassy reiterates that “the U.S. government does not pay for medical care overseas,” but some private insurance companies do. So, if you have insurance, make sure to check with your insurance company before leaving the country, to know what services are covered in case of an emergency.

If you don’t have insurance, don’t let that hold you back from setting out to see the world — just do your best to stay safe, and cross your fingers that a good Samaritan steps in if something unexpected happens.

READ: Atlanta Will Be The Site Of The First Latino-Owned And Operated Production Studio

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Topo Chico Just Released Its Alcoholic Hard Seltzer Lineup And It’s Already On People’s Shopping Lists

Culture

Topo Chico Just Released Its Alcoholic Hard Seltzer Lineup And It’s Already On People’s Shopping Lists

Topo Chico / Coca Cola Company

It’s safe to say that pretty much anything sparkly is having a moment. What started off as the sparkling water craze a few years ago with brands like LaCroix and Bubly, has now moved onto hard seltzer.

With all the commotion it’s hard not to miss the fizzy drink sensation taking over our mini-fridges and supermercados across the country. Now, Coca Cola (which owns iconic the iconic Mexican brand, Topo Chico) is getting in on the trend with its own Topo Chico hard seltzer.

And although I’m not one to usually follow trends, this one seems like one that many of us will want to get behind.

Topo Chico is stepping it up with a new line of alcoholic hard seltzers.

Following in the footsteps of hard seltzer mega weights like White Claw and Truly, Topo Chico is hoping to capitalize on its cult like status with the release of its new hard seltzer lineup.

The iconic Mexican brand (based out of Monterrey but now owned by Coca Cola Co.) has officially launched its debut line of hard seltzer drinks in several countries around the world.

It’s also worth noting because this marks the first time time in years that Coca Cola will be selling alcoholic beverages. The soda giant sold off its wine business in 1983, per the Wall Street Journal. This will be the first time in decades that the beverage giant sells alcohol in the U.S. — and what a fitting time to do so.

So far, the hard seltzer is available in Brazil and Mexico and will hit U.S. shelves in early 2021.

Rightfully so, Topo Chico is initially rolling out the product in Latin America with Mexico City, Puebla, Acapulco, Tijuana, Guadalajara and Monterrey getting the product in Mexico; while Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo will get it in Brazil.

As far as flavors, we’re looking forward to three gluten-free ones, including Tangy Lemon Lime, Strawberry Guava, and Pineapple Twist. The packaging is cool too: the hard seltzer ships in sleep aluminum cans.

And the new drinks are expected to live up to their namesake with a 4.7% alcohol by volume (which is higher than most beers) and just 100 calories per can.

A Coca Cola spokesperson said in a statement that “Topo Chico Hard Seltzer will appeal to drinkers who are looking for a refreshing, lighter alternative to other higher-calorie, higher-sugar alcoholic beverages. Most hard seltzer fans are migrating from beer, so this growth will be incremental to our business.”

Topo Chico only just recently expanded across the U.S. but it’s long been a favorite in Mexico.

Topo Chico has long been a popular water brand across Mexico and in a handful of U.S. states. It’s already carved out a niche market that has made it a cult favorite in places like Austin, TX. Popular for it’s “throwback image” and cool design, Topo Chico has seen massive growth, over the last year U.S. sales jumped 39 percent to nearly $130 million, according to data from IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm.

The secret behind Topo Chico is its mythical origins. The water is sourced from a limestone spring concealed under a mountain in northeastern Mexico. The drink was built on a legend of the thermal waters of the Cerro del Topo Chico, which is where the drink got its name. The story goes that the hidden spring water cured an Aztec princess’ illness. While there’s no way to verify the myth, Topo Chico indeed does come from the same underground spring since 1895.

And as the brand gains recognition across the U.S., it seems only natural that the company would start to add more products to its lineup. In fact, recently the company also released a “lemon-lime” version of its water that’s very much like a limonada.

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Elon Musk Wanted To Call His Tequila Brand ‘Teslaquila’ But Mexico Said No

Culture

Elon Musk Wanted To Call His Tequila Brand ‘Teslaquila’ But Mexico Said No

Tesla Tequila

Tesla Tequila is real? That’s the question many people are asking themselves after the recent announcement that the elixir was indeed available to buy on the company’s website.

Many assumed it was all a publicity stunt or a Twitter joke by the eccentric Tesla founder…looks like we are all wrong. Turns out we probably shouldn’t of doubted him. He’s already gotten people to buy flamethrowers, short shorts and surfboards. Guess it was only natural that the billionaire’s next move would be tequila.

Only one problem: tequila is a well protected and regulated beverage that’s overseen by Mexican officials. So although he’s released his so-called Tesla Tequila, he didn’t get to call it what he had wanted to, thanks to Mexican regulators.

Mexican officials told Elon Musk no to his ‘Teslaquila’ brand.

It was more than two years ago that Elon Musk referenced the “Teslaquilla” (yes, with two Las) idea. It came in the form of an April Fool’s Day joke, with Musk writing, “Elon was found passed out against a Tesla Model 3, surrounded by ‘Teslaquilla’ bottles, the tracks of dried tears still visible on his cheeks.”

But thanks to Mexican regulators, Musk has had to change his approach. Although he launched his tequila brand over in November, he didn’t get to call it what he had hoped to call it.

Thanks to strict controls on naming and production of tequila, Musk’s tequila brand is now called Tesla Tequila. Mexico’s Tequila Regulatory Council rejected the name for being too confusing for a brand name, since it’s close to the word “tequila.” 

The word “tequila” is a designation of origin; it means the rights of using this word belong only to the tequila agribusiness. That also means no one can register the word as their property. Musk’s team challenged this, saying “Teslaquila” was a natural variant from Tesla and the suffix “-quila.” On January 16th, the final ruling came down: the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property declared it could not register the brand.

Although Musk couldn’t launch ‘teslaquila’, he’s moved fast on Tesla Tequila.

Despite the naming setback, Musk has been hard at work at getting his tequila brand off the ground. And just last month, products started to ship.

Tesla Tequila comes in a lightning bolt-shaped bottle and, according to the label, is an “exclusive, premium 100% de agave tequila añejo aged in French oak barrels” produced by Nosotros Tequila.

The liquor boasts “a dry fruit and light vanilla nose with a balanced cinnamon pepper finish” and a Tesla-branded stand to hold the angular glass container upright. Despite limiting orders to two bottles per customer and only shipping to certain U.S. states, the car-brand tequila still sold out within a matter of hours. And it’s going for $250 a pop.

And in case you’re wondering, Mexico ain’t mad about it. “Today the tequila industry has someone as important as Elon Musk representing it,” the CRT said in a statement. “This is, without a doubt, a benefit to all the tequila producers because he is giving his image as an important businessman and he is showing he wants to comply with the rules of this industry. We welcome Elon Musk and the Tesla tequila brand.”

People are already receiving their shipments and posting to social media.

People who ordered the tequila are beginning to receive their shipments, and some are sharing photos on social media.

“It’s finally here and it’s so sexy!” wrote one Twitter user.

This isn’t the first time that Tesla’s owner has raised eyebrows for strange business ventures.

From flamethrowers to surf boards and now tequila, Musk has launched all types of products, apart from his iconic Tesla vehicles.

Earlier this year, the company took to selling mini red gym shorts on its website, in a playful hit back at investors who had “shorted” Tesla, or bet that its stock would drop. Each pair was priced at $69.420.

Musk also made headlines this week by revealing how close the automaker was from bankruptcy at one point. In response to a question on Twitter, he said that Tesla was only “about a month” away from collapse when it was working to ramp up production for its popular Model 3 sedan from mid-2017 to mid-2019.

However, what ever he’s doing seems to be working for the company since none of those struggles are reflected in its stock price. Tesla shares have been on a tear this year, shooting up more than 420%.

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