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During public health crisis, people step up to help one another

Together Inspired

In times of crisis, there is room for people to help one another. It’s needed now. We found people are helping each other in ways great and small.

There were two lines out in front of Trader Joe’s Tuesday morning, one for over-65 seniors, who got a 15-minute shopping head start on the under-65 folks in the other line. That’s just one of many ways businesses and individuals throughout Kern County were looking out for their elders, who are especially vulnerable during this health crisis.

Former Kern County sheriff and CHP spokesman Mack Wimbish was among the over-65 shoppers, and he offered a suggestion to people who might have an elderly neighbor.

“Ask him, if you’re going to the store, if there’s something you can get for him. Maybe you can stand in line for a long time and he can’t. We gotta take care of each other. This is America. Come on,” he said.

All over Kern County we’re hearing uplifting stories of kindness and mutual support.

Sandra Larson, who is 80, and her husband George, who is 82 and uses a walker, said they were overwhelmed by the caring attitudes of fellow shoppers at a local Vons on Monday. First a woman and her pre-teen son offered them some toilet paper from their cart. Then another shopper helped George get some tea off a very low shelf. Then a shopper shielded them from the rain with his umbrella on the way to their car.

And this happened, too.

“As we were walking out the box boy came running up to us. ‘You forgot your can of soup. It got left behind at the checkstand but the lady behind you paid for it,'” George Larson said.

“Then I was in tears,” Sandra said.

“We’re keeping this can in sight for the duration. It’ll be the last thing we eat if it really gets that bad. But I may never open this can of soup. I mean — human kindness.

George says it changed his view of what’s been going on.

“I went into the store feeling pretty down about the situation but when I came out I was feeling pretty good.”

For many, these may seem like the worst of times. But every day, throughout Kern County and the world, we keep hearing evidence that they’re also the best of times. The takeaway: We’re all in this together

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