Teacher Giving Zoom Class Notices Grandparent Slurring Her Words, and Ends Up Saving Her From Stroke

Teachers have always had to be resourceful, but in the age of coronavirus, the challenges are even greater. For one heroic Michigan faculty member, a virtual classroom recently became the means to save a woman’s life—IRL.

When first-grade teacher Julia Koch got a call about a computer glitch from Cynthia Phillips whose granddaughter was in her class, she knew immediately there was a more serious problem than mere technical difficulties.

“It was clear there was something very wrong. Her words were so jumbled, and I couldn’t understand what she was trying to say,” Koch told CNN. “She didn’t sound like herself.”

Koch immediately leapt into action, alerting school principal Charlie Lovelady to Phillips’ distress. Lovelady, familiar with stroke symptoms having lost his own father to one, kept Phillips on the phone while another staff member dialed 9-11.

Even after an ambulance was dispatched, Lovelady went the extra mile, tapping two more workers to head over to Phillips’ residence to make sure she and the kids she was looking after were all okay.

Without Koch’s quick thinking and Lovelady’s decisive action, the outcome would likely have been very different. Phillips is grateful to be alive and has nothing but praise for her real-life guardian angels.

“Thank you for saving my life,” Phillips said, thanking her rescuers via an interview with WOOD-TV8. “If it wasn’t for them getting me the help, I needed I would’ve just not been here.”

Meanwhile, Koch says the incident has turned out to be a true learning experience for her. “I don’t think one can truly be a good teacher and not care about the students and their families. In the environment we’re in especially, it’s too hard to do this without actually truly caring,” Koch said. “Out of all this, what I’ve learned [is] being part of a community that cares is so important. Paying attention to people and listening to them, always thinking of how to help. It’s great to know I’m part of a team like that.”