Life of elderly ETX man saved by auto mechanic - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Life of elderly ETX man saved by auto mechanic

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TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

An elderly East Texas man has been saved by the tap of a phone.

Gary Stewart, the owner of Stewart's Donnybrook Automotive in Tyler, was calling 90-year-old customer Henry Stone to let him know his car was ready to be picked up.

It only took about a minute of talking to Stone on the phone for Stewart to know something was wrong.

"After a minute or so of him mumbling to me I began to think something wasn't right completely so to make sure that he could understand me, but maybe just couldn't answer, I asked him, "If you understand what I'm saying to you, but you just can't tell me, tap your phone twice on your table," Stewart said. "And I heard him tap the phone twice."

Stewart said he knew Stone was having a stroke. While still on the phone with Stone, Stewart called 911.

"It just came to me, I don't know where I got that from, I've never been in a situation like that before," Stewart said when asked how he knew to tell Stone to respond by tapping. "I just needed to verify that he was hearing me and that he understood me so that I could make sure that he did in fact have a problem."

The phone call might have never even happened.

Stewart had advised Stone to not fix his 1993 Chrysler New Yorker, saying it would cost more to fix than the car was worth. Stone chose to go ahead and fix it.

"Of course, knowing it was his wife's car, I knew there was sentimental attachment there," Stewart said. "Had he taken my advice that day and not fixed his car, it wouldn't have been here and I wouldn't have called him and I'm just scared to think what could've happened."

Stewart stayed on the phone until EMS arrived at Stone's house. He said the first responder took the phone from Stone, introduced himself, and assured him they had arrived and were taking care of the elderly man.

Stewart said he was thinking of what he would do if that was his mother on the phone.

"If you're speaking to someone and they seem to have some sort of problem, please don't hang up and take it for granted. Try and respond or communicate with them in some kind of way. Minutes can mean the difference in life or death."

Advice that, in action, saved Henry Stone's life. Stone is currently recovering at Trinity Mother Frances Hospital. His condition has not yet been released.