LOWELL (CBS) – A store in Lowell is giving away free gasoline Friday to those who are putting themselves at risk to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Harry's Food Mart on Middlesex Street is offering free gas to everyone working on the front lines in the crisis.
All doctors, nurses, medical workers, as well as police officers, firefighters and EMTs are able to fill up their tanks, up to $50 worth, for free until 10 p.m.
The Patel family owns the station. They told WBZ-TV this was all inspired by their teenager. Mahi Patel turns 14 Saturday and they said this is all she wanted for her birthday - a way to show her appreciation to those fighting to save lives.
"I wasn't thinking a 14-year-old was going to think like that but, you know, more like they'd probably want some kind of gift or stuff like that, but she came up with the idea to help out in the community. It's good. I'm really proud of her," Mahi's father, Harshadkumar Patel, told WBZ.
The idea Mahi came up with for both her and her cousin Krish's special day was to share it with hundreds more.
"This is the best possible way to celebrate my birthday!" Mahi said.
"These people are going to work every day putting their own family at risk putting themselves at the risk, going to hospitals," Mahi said. "They are really working hard for us and it's nice to do something for them!"
The result was a lot of happy faces at the pump.
"Well it feels very good!" said Christine LeBlanc, Unit Coordinator at Lowell General Hospital Saints Campus.
Nurses, doctors, other medical staff, police, firefighters, and EMTs were all thankful to be fueling up for free.
"My son who is 28 he sent me the message 'Hey, mom go get gas! It's free for nurses.' I was like for real?" said Lowell General Nurse Tiffany Yonhorn.
A moment of thanks, smiles even some reunions. A few minutes break from the reality.
"Everybody is just working as a team to do what we can to take care of the patients," said Lowell General Nurse Laurie Pender.
"We are taking care of all them because they are very nervous to come in, but we treat them just the same," said LeBlanc.
"Scary, but you know that's part of the nurse job," said Yonhorn.
The Patel family, who is likely spending thousands of dollars in gas, feels this is more than worth it.
"I'll never forget this birthday!" said Krish Patel.
To be eligible for the free gasoline Friday, all you have to do is show your badge or work identification.
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