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Woman Helps Elderly Couple Too Scared To Shop For Groceries Due To Coronavirus Pandemic

The elderly couple waited in a car park for 45 minutes, looking for the right person to ask for help.

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread throughout the globe, older people are among the most vulnerable. This poses a conundrum: Do they avoid crowded grocery stores or do they stock up on food?

One elderly couple from Oregon in the United States had recently driven to a supermarket but they were too scared to get out of their car.

After 45 minutes, the wife cracked her window and shouted out to a young woman, professional runner Rebecca Mehra. "She cracked her window open a bit more, and explained to me nearly in tears that they are afraid to go in the store," Mehra wrote on Twitter.

The couple is in their 80s and heard the coronavirus was disproportionately affecting older people, Mehra wrote. They told her they don't have family nearby that could help them. "Through the crack in the window she handed me a $100 bill and a grocery list, and asked if I would be willing to buy her groceries," Mehra wrote in a series of tweets.

"I bought the groceries and placed them in her trunk, and gave her back the change," she continued. "I know it's a time of hysteria and nerves, but offer to help anyone you can. Not everyone has people to turn to."

After her story went viral, Rebecca Mehra said, "It was the first time I thought about how much this is really affecting my community." Photo: CBS/KBNZ

Mehra's Twitter thread resonated. "Overwhelmed by the positive response to my tweet yesterday," Mehra wrote on Thursday, one day after posting the initial story. "Over 11 million of you have seen my story and counting. Thank you to everyone who has shared it."

"Frankly most people I know would have done the same thing I did. I was just in the right place at the right time," Mehra wrote.

She spoke to CBS News affiliate KBNZ after her story gained widespread attention online.

"It was the first time I thought about how much this is really affecting my community," Mehra said, adding that she was just at the right place at right time and wishes she had gotten the couple's names.

"It just felt like a no brainer thing to do in the moment," she said. "It seems like it's inspired thousands of people hopefully to check in on their neighbours, check-in on their grandparents, and their parents."

Many elderly people, as well as those with serious chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or lung disease, are at a higher risk of contracting coronavirus -- and some of them might not have the help they need.

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Feature Image: GETTY