People may say Siri is a joke, never getting things right, not understanding the questions it is asked, or giving information not wanted, but during Hurricane Harvey, the Apple digital assistant came to the rescue of a sick little girl and her family. Tyler Frank has sickle cell anemia, a genetic condition that can be made worse from exposure to cold or trauma.
On August 27, Tyler, her three brothers, and mother woke in the middle of the night only to find that their home was filling with flood waters from Harvey. They rushed to the roof of their home, but the waters kept rising. The family tried to call 911, but that did not work. Too many people in the area were calling 911. So, the family turned to Facebook and Instagram, pleading for help. But no one was able to get to them. Then Tyler had an idea. She asked Siri on the iPhone to call the Coast Guard. And it worked! Well, it kind of worked. The next afternoon a Coast Guard helicopter showed up, but it did not rescue them. It was only tasked to rescue the elderly. Sick little girls had to wait. But the morning of the next day, another helicopter showed up and rescued the family, according to CNN.
When Tyler was finally rescued, she was suffering with a 103 degree fever. Doctors at Texas Children’s Hospital were happy with Tyler’s spirits, saying that even though she had a fever, and everything her family had to go through, she was in good spirits and has a great sense of humor.
This is not the first time this year Siri has come to the rescue. Earlier in the year a house exploded with one man inside. He was badly burned, but was able to use the voice assistant to call for an ambulance. The Apple digital assistant likely saved his life.
When the first Coast Guard helicopter showed up at the Frank’s waterlogged home, a Guardsman descended from the helicopter and asked if anyone was sick. Tyler’s mom, Tameko told him that she had a child who had sickle cell and was very sick. The rescuer said that he was only taking elderly at this time, and the chopper left, leaving Tameko feeling abandoned.
According to the Coast Guard, they were overwhelmed with requests and had to make rescue determinations based on specific factors. Elderly came first, and while that may not have been a good excuse for Tyler and her family being left on their roof, the sick 9th grader called the Coast Guard again using the phone number Siri had provided, and this time, the next morning, a helicopter showed up and took her family to safety. Tyler has since been released from the hospital and her family is sharing a room at a Super 8 hotel for now.
By Cletus Dillwood
Photo Courtesy Facebook/Tameko Frank