A Texas jail guard nearly died from a massive heart attack two years ago while on the job, but thanks to the inmates, he survived.
“I just slumped and went out,” Gary Grimm told WHAS11 about what he remembers from the day it happened on June 23, 2016. “Next thing I remember is looking up at the ceiling in the ER.”
The incident happened while Grimm — who has worked at Texas jails and prisons for over 20 years —was watching inmates in a basement holding cell at the Parker County, Texas, jail. And the entire ordeal was captured on surveillance video.
Sitting across from at least eight men who were behind a locked gate, the inmates at first thought he was kidding, according to the news outlet.
They began to shout and bang the cell’s siding as Grimm had fallen unconscious without a pulse. They were able to break free and catch the attention of others who were able to help.
“Instead of overtaking me and taking my gun, and killing me or taking a hostage and escaping, they looked at me as a human being,” Grimm told the news outlet, adding that he’s always treated the inmates the way he would want to be treated if he was in their shoes.
He added: “I don’t care if they’re a drug user, hot check writer or child molester. They’re still a human being. I don’t have to like what they did, but it’s not my position to be the judge and jury.”
While his life was saved, the 52-year-old who retired in December has continued to have issues with his heart. This week he’s undergoing open heart surgery to get a Left Ventricle Assistance Device, which he will need for at least six months before he hopes to get a transplant.
A GoFundMe page was created to help Grimm with his medical expenses.
He’s a “family man that has opened his house to numerous foster children,” his friend wrote on the page. “Just true salt of the earth person. Please give if you can.”
And while Grimm says he’s never been able to thank them personally because they were transferred to another facility, he gets “emotional” when he thinks about what they did for him and how different the outcome could have been.
“If they wished harm for me, all they had to do was sit there and do nothing,” he says.