CLEVELAND — We first introduced you to Isaiah Rivers, a 22-year-old first-year nurse at Cleveland Clinic - Euclid Hospital, last May. He shared with us his experience of being on the front lines of COVID-19.
"I didn’t think I’d ever see anything like this where it changes the whole world around us," he told us then.
As a thank you to his dedication and service, we wanted to do a little something for him. We surprised him with a gift card to Texas Roadhouse, tickets to Cedar Point, and a personal video message from Cavaliers legend Austin Carr.
His reaction? Priceless. Now, nearly a year since we last caught up with Isaiah, he got engaged and married to his loving wife Brianna.
"He just always has a smile on his face," she said. "He really tries to manage stress really well. It's been amazing to be able to just see him through this whole pandemic, keep a positive attitude and just be really serious about making sure he is protected."
But Isaiah is not doing it for praise. He just loves to help others.
"I'm just blessed to be in the position that I am," he told us. "I'm blessed to have the job I do, and I'm blessed to have people around me who really care and really love me."
We talked with Isaiah and Brianna on a Zoom call. Brianna knew what was coming after the interview, but Isaiah? He had no idea.
First, we surprised him with Cavs tickets. Then, as we were talking, Austin Carr jumped on the Zoom. Isaiah was floored.
"How’s it going?" the legendary "Mr. Cavalier" asked.
"Hello! I did not see that coming!" Isaiah exclaimed. "It’s an absolute pleasure to meet you. I can remember [Austin] saying that we're going to meet, but I didn't know!"
Then, Carr showed his appreciation for Isaiah's service, while revealing his own personal experience with the pandemic.
"Just want to thank you both for being who you are," AC said. "These are tough times, and I've never experienced anything like this. As a matter of fact, I just got over COVID myself about, three weeks ago. I understand exactly how you guys feel every day, trying to deal with the situation and keep yourself safe."
A team effort, but Isaiah wants to pass praise to the talented men and women who work by his side.
"There was a whole team of healthcare professionals, therapists, nursing assistants, radiology techs," he said. "There are doctors, of course, NPS, PAs. There are so many people who are part of this team. It's not just nurses. There are a lot of people who are fighting this pandemic. Without the whole team, it’s impossible."