Fla. paramedic rescues man, pays for his flight home

Dusty Rousseau transported the 21-year-old, who relapsed after leaving rehab, to the hospital and asked staff to keep an eye on him until he could return

By EMS1 Staff

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A paramedic went above and beyond the call when he took a young drug addict under his wing and paid for his flight home. 

Dusty Rousseau, 36, responded to a call to assist officers with a man who passed out on a sidewalk, reported the Bay Today

“When they woke him up, he was laying on the streets in Fort Lauderdale. Fort Lauderdale sounds beautiful, with Florida and sandy beaches, but where I found him was not the best place,” Rousseau said. 

Rousseau told officers he would escort the man to the hospital, who had relapsed after leaving rehab. After officers told the man, named Ryan, to get up, Rousseau was overcome with emotion.

“That’s where the emotion came for me. I felt bad for the kid right away, he said ‘yes sir,’ he’s not a thug,” Rousseau said. 

The paramedic took the 21-year-old to the hospital, where he asked staff to keep him safe until his 12-hour shift ended. 

“I talked to him for a while, and he’s a good kid who struggled with an addiction, he was dressed well, he spoke well, he was respectful, he had played hockey and grew up in a small town like I did … I thought ‘I’ve got to help this kid,’” Rousseau said. 

When Rousseau returned to the hospital after his shift, he managed to contact Ryan’s father, who lives in Wisconsin. Ryan’s father said he could not afford transportation to get his son home. 

“I talked to his dad on the phone, and his dad wanted nothing more than to get him home for Christmas,” Rousseau said. 

Instead, Rousseau paid for a flight to send Ryan home; he waited with him at the airport. Ryan contacted Rousseau after arriving home, and thanked him for the kind gesture.

“It felt pretty good to send him home for Christmas, he’s doing pretty good right now and I’m trying to keep in touch with him, because he’s a good kid,” Rousseau said. 

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