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83-Year-Old Springfielder Finds Community Amid Coronavirus

WYSO reporter Tom Stafford interviewing Lois Christel in her home, before expanded social distancing guidelines were issued.
Bill Lackey
/
The Springfield News-Sun
WYSO reporter Tom Stafford interviewing Lois Christel in her home, before expanded social distancing guidelines were issued.

When 83-year-old Lois Christel went to the Springfield Meijer store a week ago Tuesday, she found the toilet paper shelves already bare. But that’s not what sent the retired hospital infection control expert home in tears. 

WYSO Clark County reporter Tom Stafford has the story.

STORY TRANSCRIPT:

TOM STAFFORD: Lois Christel and her husband, Bob, were clean out of produce. So she chose to go Meijer’s early bird senior shopping hour.

LOIS CHRISTEL: There were fewer people and fewer dirty hands and fewer snotty noses and all that kind of thing.

TOM STAFFORD: And there were cleaning supplies in use when she got to the door.

LOIS CHRISTEL: I was impressed with the fact that they were offering handwipes to people who came into the store. Some declined, and I wanted to say, excuse me, that’s really for you. But I didn’t. I refrained.

TOM STAFFORD: It’s what she found when she got to the aisles that really made her day.

LOIS CHRISTEL: “It was overwhelming. As I went down the aisles – everywhere – I saw people saying, ‘Oh let me reach up there. That’s too high for you. I’ll get that.’ Somebody would knock something on the floor, and before they had a chance, someone would say, ‘Here, I’ll pick that up. ‘You don’t need to do that.’

TOM STAFFORD: It was the same in produce.

LOIS CHRISTEL: ‘Are you trying to reach this? Let me move down.’ Over and over and over again. Every single aisle. I, I just – I was flabbergasted at how kind and concerned about other people everybody was.

TOM STAFFORD: As Lois got back to her car, she knew the groceries weren’t the only thing she was taking home with her.

LOIS CHRISTEL: I knew I was going to cry, and, I’m not a crier. I don’t cry at the drop of a hat. But by the time I got home, the tears were running down my face.

TOM STAFFORD: She first told her husband, then texted her children about what she saw as a collateral blessing of the Coronavirus.

LOIS CHRISTEL: I was so glad I went, that I had that experience. I don’t think that was particularly unique to that store. I think it was unique to this event that we’re going through. I couldn’t help but think thank you for this kind of an outcome, along with the bad It was wonderful. It was absolutely heartwarming, and I will never forget that day as long as I live.

TOM STAFFORD: In Springfield for WYSO News, I’m Tom Stafford.