When Robert Parker arrived at Sharon Sawyers' Baltimore home Feb. 26, he realized something was wrong.

For the past seven months, Parker, a transportation driver for MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, had been picking up Sawyers for doctors' appointments, and typically, he said, Sawyers, would leave her door open in anticipation of his arrival, ready and waiting for him. This time, though, the door was shut.


"At first I didn't get an answer, but I kept knocking," said Parker, a 56-year-old Baltimore native. "Then I heard someone hollering, so I listened closely and it was Sharon."

Communicating through the locked door, Sawyers, 55, explained to Parker that she had fallen and couldn't get up. She directed Parker to another door closer to her location inside and informed him that she had been lying on the ground helpless for two days, after she suffered vertigo and slipped getting out of the shower.

"I had a little bit of panic when I heard she'd been lying there for two days," Parker said. "I knew I needed to call 911 to get her help."

In Sawyers' eyes, Parker's actions saved her life.

"I'd been sitting there terrified, like, 'I can't get up, my phone's on my bed, what am I going to do?'" Sawyers said. "If it hadn't been for him, I honest to God would not have been on this Earth today."

Sawyers, who was finishing up breast cancer treatment before her fall, suffered two broken humerus bones and was treated at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center before eventually being transported to MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital.

She spoke to Parker on the phone while receiving treatment, and the two saw each other in May for the first time since Sawyers' hospitalization.

At the reunion, both were emotional, Parker said.

"She cried, and I was happy," he said. "I fought back tears. It was just good to see her and see that she was doing all right."

Debra Schindler, MedStar's regional director of media and public relations, said this type of extreme emergency doesn't happen frequently with transportation employees.

"He is an ambassador of kindness and a good Samaritan," she said of Parker. "He is the type of employee we are proud to hire and proud to have representing us in the community."

Prior to her fall and Parker's rescue, Sawyers said, she had a good relationship with Parker, who regularly drove her to chemotherapy and radiation treatments. During the Christmas season, Parker played seasonal music in the van he used to transport patients and there were frequent sing-alongs.

"He put a smile on your face every time you saw him. He's a great guy. I'm sure that's just his nature," Sawyers said, adding that on days Parker wasn't her driver, he would often call and check in with her to see how her appointments went.

This was the first serious situation Parker dealt with during his roughly 12-year employment at MedStar Good Samaritan, he said, but his instincts drove him to call 911 and remain calm. Plus, he said, his background as a correctional officer had given him experience with emergencies.


He credited both the hospital and God for his role in Sawyers' rescue in February.

"I believe God puts us in places where we need to be, when we need to be there," Parker said. "I just believe it all came together like it was supposed to."

Sawyers said she invited Parker to attend a Cancer Survivor Day hosted by the MedStar Health cancer network on June 7. Though the invitation called for cancer victims and their families, Sawyers felt Parker qualified.

"I told him, 'There's no one I'd prefer to have be there with me other than you,'" she said. "Really, I don't know what I would have done without him. I think that makes us like family."