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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Man Stands on Corner with Sign Using $900 from Own Pocket To Buy Gas for Nurses

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While some people have shown a surprising amount of selfishness in the past few weeks, others have shown a heartwarming amount of empathy.

There are supply hoarders, but there are also people who draw thank-you notes for nurses on the sidewalks. There are people who go around with little regard for social distancing or watching out for the signs of the virus, but there’s also Allen Marshall.

Marshall, of St. Clair Shores, Michigan, was saving up some money to buy a knife sharpener. He’d accumulated $900 — a tidy little sum, and one most people would have kept under lock and key as the coronavirus began to spread.

But not Marshall. With his mom in a nursing home and his wife working at Blue Cross Blue Shield, he understood how valuable essential workers like nurses are.

So, instead of keeping the $900 as an emergency fund, the retiree decided to use it to bless the nurses who are on the front lines caring for people during this uncertain time.

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After dropping his wife off at work on Wednesday, Marshall set up shop at a nearby gas station.

“I just paid for gas for a nurse who works at the VA Hospital in Ann Arbor,” Marshall told the Detroit Free Press.

“He was on his way home from work and said he was happy to get off the exit ramp and receive free gas. Emotionally, there is no one there to thank them at work and this gesture helped him.”

“With all that is going on with the coronavirus, I wanted to thank the essential workers the best way that I can,” he added. “I really don’t need that tool and thought this was a better way to spend the money.”

On Wednesday he bought gas for around 25 people and soon exhausted his funds. He was prepared, though, flipping his sign that said “Free Gas For Nurses” so it read “Thank You For All That You Do!!!”

“It takes a small gesture to show people that we care about them,” Marshall said. “The nurses and first responders need help as well during this time, and I’m doing my part in making sure they are taken care of.”

“I just love them, and I want them to know that,” he said to WDIV.

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But a local caught wind of his story and decided she wanted to help, too. According to WDIV, the woman — named Alana — donated $200 of her own and helped pump gas, extending Marshall’s act of kindness.

“I was so inspired I had to come down here and help,” she said. “So whether it was money or pumping gas or whatever I needed I wanted to give back. These nurses are putting their lives on the line every day for us.”

These acts of kindness seem to be every bit as contagious as the virus that has sparked them, and all we have to do to keep that trend going is look around and find ways to bless others with the means we have.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking