Early shopping at Stop & Shop — for seniors only — is one of many feel-good coronavirus stories

By Tom Bergeron
New Jersey | Mar 17, 2020 at 7:34 am
Editor’s Desk

By now, we’ve all heard about Noah Colvin, the Tennessee man who bought up 17,000 bottles of hand sanitizer in an effort to make a fortune in e-commerce during the coronavirus outbreak.

And, if you haven’t heard, the Tennessee attorney general apparently has begun an investigation to make sure Colvin gets all that he has coming to him. Not to mention that he wound up donating the goods.

But, in this time of craziness — which includes fights over the efforts to purchase a lifetime supply of toilet paper — some heroes of the business world are emerging.

Gov. Phil Murphy pointed out two during his daily briefing call Monday, suggesting Comcast and Verizon were doing their part to ensure availability of the internet, including giving access to hotspots to all, allowing customers to exceed their data limits without a fee — and not charging customers (and small businesses) for late payments.

Stop & Shop, meanwhile, became the latest hero.

Starting Thursday, all Stop & Shop stores will open 90 minutes earlier — at 6 a.m. — in order to service only customers who are age 60 and over.

What a great move. And it goes beyond seniors getting to avoid folks who may run them over in the aisles while fighting for that last roll of Charmin. Seniors, as we all know now, are more susceptible to catching the COVID-19 virus. And, they often catch it from those in a younger generation who may not realize they are carrying it.

Gordon Reid, president of the Stop & Shop Supermarket Co., said it’s the right thing to do.

“Now, more than ever, it’s important we come together as a community to support each other during challenging times,” he said in a release. “Part of that is showing compassion and care for some of our neighbors who are most vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus. According to the CDC, that is members of the population who are age 60 and older.

“We’re making the decision to offer this every day of the week to allow for community members in this age category to shop in a less crowded environment, which better enables social distancing.”

Comcast CEO Dave Watson had similar feelings.

“During this extraordinary time, it is vital that as many Americans as possible stay connected to the internet — for education, work and personal health reasons,” he said. “Our employees also live and work in virtually every community we serve, and we all share the same belief that it’s our company’s responsibility to step up and help out.”

Verizon Chairman Hans Vestberg said now is the time for all to share what they have with others.

“We need to ensure that our customers, their families and businesses have the ability to connect to the internet even if they’re facing financial hardship from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.

All of this is great. And we hope other corporate citizens will make similar efforts.

But, if you think those efforts are only made by the big companies, think again.

Steve Chrisomalis Jr., owner of two Steve’s Burgers locations in Garfield, told NorthJersey.com he is offering free cheeseburgers and hot dogs for families in need.

And he’s made it simple: Just order a “cheeseburger special with love.”

That way, Chrisomalis said, customers won’t feel embarrassed to admit they need a helping hand.

Chrisomalis said he’s eager to give one out.

“People have been supporting me for a long time,” he said. “It’s important for me to support others when they fall on hard times. You have to look out for people.”

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