When the receiving doorbell rang early Wednesday morning at a Walgreens in southern Los Angeles, store manager Angelica Nieto expected to find a driver and a truck filled with merchandise waiting for her at the back of the store. She was right – but she wasn’t expecting extra company.
“I was surprised to see two police officers standing there with our driver,” says Nieto. “I figured it might be related to the population of homeless people that gathers near the railroad tracks behind our store, a situation that often requires some police presence.”
She was right again, but only partially.
“We were about to do a cleanup of some debris and bulky items from the encampments near the store, and we needed some more supplies like hand sanitizer,” says officer Ryan Fox, who’s part of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Homeless Outreach and Proactive Engagement Team. “We saw the truck and stopped to ask, given that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused logistical chaos and supply shortages of household items all over the world.”
Fox was also thinking of his family. His wife is pregnant and has been staying at home to avoid crowds. And, like many other officers deployed throughout L.A. to help maintain law and order, Fox has been unable to wait in long lines to buy things such as diapers, baby wipes and toilet paper.
Store manager Angelica Nieto (left), shift lead Laura Torres and customer service associate Daniel Monzon (not pictured) helped LAPD first responders get critical items for their work and families
Shift lead Laura Torres and customer service associate Daniel Monzon joined Nieto to look through the truck in hopes of finding everything the officers needed to buy.
“In the moment, we didn’t think twice,” says Nieto. “They’re always the ones who help. It was simply our turn to help them.”
Nieto, Torres and Monzon had no idea their actions made such a big impact on the officers, who shared their gratitude with Walgreens leaders.
“As we’re committed to protecting L.A. residents, these Walgreens employees are committed to helping ensure we’re able to provide for our families during this unprecedented time,” says Fox. “Everyone around the world is struggling right now, and it’s just nice to see people who are willing to go out of their way.
“I believe Walgreens employees and others like them are part of this whole effort, but they can sometimes be unrecognized or forgotten as workers of the coronavirus crisis. It was so nice to see their dedication and willingness to partner with us as emergency responders to help make sure we can get through this. We're very appreciative.”