(CNN) — A Minnesota state trooper moved a doctor to tears when he turned what should have been a speeding ticket into a heartwarming act of kindness.
Dr. Sarosh Ashraf Janjua, a cardiologist at a coronavirus quarantine unit in Duluth, was pulled over by Trooper Brian Schwartz for speeding on March 21.
But instead of a ticket, Schwartz handed Janjua five N95 masks he was supposed to use as protection — along with a firm warning for speeding.
“I burst into tears. And though it may just have been the cold wind, I think he teared up a little as well, before wishing me well and walking away,” Janjua said on Facebook.
“This complete stranger, who owed me nothing and is more on the front lines than I am, shared his precious masks with me, without my even asking.”
Schwartz felt compelled to offer Janjua his N-95 masks after noticing “what appeared to be two used N95 masks in Ashraf’s purse that he assumed she was reusing,” the Minnesota State Patrol said in a statement to CNN.
The N95 respirator masks that health care workers need to protect themselves while treating coronavirus patients are in dangerously short supply. Physicians are being forced to wear used masks, risking infection when they care for patients.
Like millions of health care workers across the world, Janjua, who is originally from Boston, said she was “afraid” of not having proper equipment to protect herself from possibly getting sick far from home.
“Thank you to Sarosh for her hard work and dedication,” the Minnesota State Patrol said on Facebook. “Troopers are working hard during the pandemic and are thinking about all the first responders who are caring for Minnesotans during this critical time.”
While the coronavirus pandemic has changed the world as we know it, the kindness of people like Trooper Schwartz is a reminder that nothing can take away our unity in times of crisis.
“I think we are all just hanging on to something that makes us feel safe,” Janjua told CNN. “Somehow, for Americans, that something has become N95 masks and toilet paper. Trooper Schwartz’ act of kindness became my something.”
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