SPOKANE, Wash. -74-year-old Gaila Tippen doesn’t think she’d be alive without the quick actions of a 10-year-old boy that lives in her apartment complex.
Calling Torren Iarussi a “boy that lives in her apartment complex” is a massive understatement. Tippen and Iarussi aren’t related, but she calls him her unofficial, “adopted grandson” and he calls her “grandma.” Torren’s mom, Kasondra, lives in the same apartment complex as Tippen. The two met because Kasondra organizes community events for seniors living on the property, then Torren eventually met Tippin.
“He’s an only child and I think he doesn’t have a grandmother in town. I’m all by myself, and me and him just kind of hit it off,” Tippen said.
“I’m younger than she is and we still play the same things,” Torren said.
The two are together “at least once or twice a week,” so last Friday seemed like just another one of those days. But as the two admit neither of them expected what happened next.
“I couldn’t stand anymore,” Gaila said, describing the moment she began to feel dizzy.
“I said, ‘honey, I’ve got to go sit down in the chair’ and he said I just fell backwards,” she said.
Gaila passed out, admitting she doesn’t remember much of what happened next. But Torren remembers exactly what happened because he tried helping her up, called 911 and waited for help to come.
Soon after, Torren’s mom was at home when she got a call.
“It came from Gaila’s phone, so I answered it and he wasn’t freaking out or anything. Just matter of fact, ‘Gaila fell and an ambulance is on it’s way,” Kasondra said.
Gaila said her doctors told her she fainted due to dehydration. Regardless of the reason, Gaila, a retired nurse, said she still can’t believe how calm Torren was and has him to thank for saving her life.
"Just amazed that a ten-year-old would have presence of mind, and he never left me. He could've run home and got mom, but he took care of things. You don't see that,” Gaila said.