ST. MARYS — Kelli Surra of St. Marys is just one of many people who have experienced a random act of kindness since the coronavirus pandemic began to impact life in the Tri-County area — but that one small act means the world to her.

Surra’s 11-year-old daughter, Sophia, lives with the autoimmune disease “Autoimmune Neutropenia.”

“She is a very rare case, because most kids with Autoiumme Neutropenia grow out of this around age 4 or 5,” Surra said. “Her body produces neutrophils but then destroys them. You need neutrophils to fight off bacterial infections.”

Sophia’s body relies on other types of white cells to overcompensate and fight off germs.

The family does not leave their home, Surra said, having many game and movie nights, campfires or playing sports outside. They have been taking extra precautions to keep Sophia safe during the pandemic, such as using only grocery pickup services and Amazon delivery.

“Close friends have offered to run to the store for anything we can’t get through deliveries or pick up,” Surra said.

Surra was having trouble getting a spot for grocery pickups at local stores like Walmart or Martins, so she went to Family Dollar in DuBois March 21, where there were just her and one “very kind, thoughtful employee.”

“She grabbed a cart for me and wiped it off, even though she said she had just wiped them all off,” Surra said. “She could tell that I was being very cautious touching things, and I explained our situation.”

The woman asked Surra if her family needed disinfectant wipes, to which Surra replied, “Yes. I can’t find them anywhere.”

“She said ‘We’re out, too, but I have some set aside,’” Surra’s Facebook post says. “She returned and gave me four containers of disinfectant wipes.”

When Surra offered to pay for them, the woman replied, “No, you need them.”

These acts of kindness are refreshing and heartwarming to see during a hard time, to say the least, Surra said.

Surra’s husband, Dominic, is assistant principal of St. Marys Area Middle School and has worked from home, helping with the student lunch program and online schooling, while she works in marketing at the Area Transportation Authority (ATA).

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