San Diego Surfer Becomes Toilet Paper ‘Hero’ in the Face of COVID-19

You wouldn’t guess stockpiling toilet paper would be the biggest priority during a time of crisis. But, if there’s one thing we’re learning through this COVID-19 crisis, it’s how much value a large swath of the world puts on TP.

As the virus spreads from country to country like wildfire, toilet paper is being pillaged from stores. In pretty much every store worldwide TP shelves are restocked by night and emptied by early morning, frantic shoppers buying cartloads at a time for who knows what reason. Ten days ago, in Australia, two women got into a full-blown fight in a Woolworths in Sydney over package of TP.

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Last Friday, 33-year-old surfer and physical therapist Jonny Blue decided he would take North County San Diego’s TP shortage into his own hands, literally. Knowing there are elderly residents (the ones that really shouldn’t have to go searching for bathroom necessities in hectic and crowded spaces) in need, he posted up at one of the busiest intersections in the city of Encinitas and started an on-the-spot toilet paper exchange.

“It was initially intended to be a reminder to people to take care of those around them,” Blue said, on his Instagram stories this morning. “But then people started handing TP to me out their windows. Then others would stop and say they need some, so I’d just pass it along to them.”

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Blue’s impromptu TP exchange was a smashing hit, while restoring a bit of faith in humanity at the same time. His plan was never to gain attention, but after the local news and Los Angeles Times picked up the story, he decided to upgrade his original TP swap by setting up a full-blown supplies exchange on the corner of Encinitas Boulevard and El Camino Real. Yesterday afternoon, he was out collecting and distributing TP, hand sanitizer, food, etc.

“Stuff isn’t staying on my table very long,” Blue told us yesterday. “People drop it off and then someone picks it up almost immediately.”

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With the exchange gaining popularity, and the COVID-19 crisis nowhere near slowing down, Blue is hoping to continue the exchange in the near future. TBD what days and times the exchange will start back up, but it’s clear people like Blue are a wonderful example of how we all can do good in these times of uncertainty and chaos. If you can spare some essential supplies, reach out to Blue via Instagram direct message to coordinate.

This article originally appeared on Surfer.com and was republished with permission.

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