Oregon woman helps elderly couple buy food amid coronavirus outbreak

An Oregon woman helped an elderly couple buy food amid the COVID-19 outbreak saying on “Fox & Friends Weekend” on Sunday, “It was a moment in which I really realized there are folks in this community that are much more affected than I am from the coronavirus.”

In a viral tweet, Rebecca Mehra of Bend, Ore., wrote on Wednesday, “I went to the grocery store this afternoon. As I was walking in I heard a woman yell to me from her car. I walked over and found an elderly woman and her husband. She cracked her window open a bit more, and explained to me nearly in tears that they are afraid to go in the store.”

The tweet was retweeted more than 106,000 times and got more than 570,000 likes.

On Sunday, Mehra, a professional runner, described exactly what happened on Wednesday.

“I went to the grocery store after track practice on a really normal day. Just went to get a couple of groceries and as I was walking in … I hear a woman yelling, ‘Hey, hey you’ So I approached the car and I see an elderly woman and her husband and she explained to me that she and her husband had been sitting there for a while and were nervous to go in the grocery store as they heard about the coronavirus,” Mehra explained, adding that “the first case had just hit Bend, Oregon, where I live.”

Mehra went on to say that the woman asked her if she would be willing to buy groceries for them and “without a thought” she agreed.

“She cracked down the window just a little bit more and handed me a hundred-dollar bill and a handwritten grocery list so I just went on in the store, bought the items off the list and came right back out, loaded them in her trunk and gave her the change,” Mehra said.

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She added that she wishes she had given the couple her phone number so that she could have stayed in touch and helped them again.  The elderly are among the most vulnerable to the novel coronavirus, according to medical experts.

Mehra spoke on “Fox & Friends Weekend” the morning after a man in his 70s became the first person in Oregon to die from the new coronavirus.

The man, who had underlying heath conditions, tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, according to The Oregon Health Authority, which added that he had no known contact to a confirmed case and had not traveled to another country where the novel coronavirus is circulating.

“This is a sobering reminder that this virus is in our community and can be serious for older people and those with underlying conditions,” Dr. Jennifer Vines, the Multnomah County's deputy health officer, said.

“Of course we all think about ourselves and this is why it's been so scary,” Mehra said on Sunday. “We're all thinking about how it's personally affecting us and of course it's personally affected me in some ways. I'm a professional track athlete and most of my races are getting canceled and who knows if the Olympics, the Olympic trials [will be canceled] as well.”

“At the same time, it was a moment in which I really realized there are folks in this community that are much more affected than I am from the coronavirus and it was a moment in which I realized we need to do our best to be reaching out to these people,” she continued, referencing her encounter with the elderly couple on Wednesday.

“They're having a really hard time. There are folks who feel like they can't even go in grocery stores so we need to check on our neighbors and call our grandparents and our parents and help elderly folks get their basic essentials.”

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The U.S. has seen 60 deaths and more than 2,100 cases of COVID-19, The Associated Press reported on Sunday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.