Dunkin’ Donuts workers credited with rescuing one of their regulars
LISBON — If you go to the Dunkin’ Donuts in town you may get more than a cup of your favorite coffee. Just ask Gary Phillips.
Phillips, 73, had fallen at his home and lay there for several days until found by Dunkin’ Donuts employees Megan Schriner and Danielle Hastings, who cared enough to check on Phillips after he had failed to show up that week.
Phillips lives just outside Lisbon and is a regular customer at the Dunkin’ Donuts in town, which is how Schriner, 18, and Hastings, 27, came to know him.
“He was always a daily person who came in,” Schriner said. “We all love him to death. He is just a sweet old guy.”
Last Halloween, Hastings was taking her children trick-or-treating around Lisbon when she accidentally bumped into Phillips “I was like, Oh my goodness. This is where Gary the vanilla Coolatta guy lives,” she said. “He always gets the six extra pumps of vanilla beans in his Coolatta, although now he’s down to five.”
The pair had gotten to know Phillips and grew quite fond of him, as had other employees. They learned his wife died last summer and that his birthday was March 25, so the employees told Phillips to show up at the Dunkin’ Donuts on March 23 to celebrate his birthday early. One of the employees was even going to bring a cake.
By March 23 Schriner had become concerned because she had not seen Phillips all week.
“We knew something was wrong … We kept telling him, ‘Remember you’ve got to be here Thursday for your birthday,'” she said.
Schriner called Hastings, who was off but planning to come in for the celebration, and asked her to check on Phillips since she knew where he lived. Hastings arrived at his mobile home about 3 p.m. and ran into a neighbor, who told her he had spoken to Phillips through a bedroom window earlier in the week but had not seen him out for five days, which was unusual.
Hastings went to the bedroom window and spoke to Phillips, who said he was lying on the floor and could not get up. She texted Schriner, who received permission from her supervisor to leave immediately after a co-worker who was done for the day offered to work over to cover for her.
“Our boss (Nikieta Campbell) is awesome …. She was 110 percent understanding,” Schriner said.
Meanwhile, Hastings called 911, and an ambulance crew and the fire department responded, and the parties hatched a plan to remove the window air conditioner unit and to have Schriner to crawl in the bedroom window. She found Phillips on the living room floor in a somewhat confused state and he was taken by ambulance to the Salem Regional Medical Center.
“I would do that again in a heartbeat for anybody, for any of my customers,” Schriner said.
The pair visited Phillips in the hospital later that day and again on his birthday. They said he was recovering and expected to be moved to a rehabilitation facility before going home.
Schriner and Hastings said they were pleased to have been able to help Phillips, who appears to be on the mend.
“I’m just glad. Everyone here cares about him,” Schriner said.