During the COVID-19 Crisis, This Man Helped People in Need Get Toilet Paper

When Jonny Blue realized that people were hoarding toilet paper, he set out to make sure the people who needed some could get it.

Jonny Blue holding his sign that reads, "share your toilet paper"Hayne Palmour IV/San Diego Union-Tribune/Zuma Press
Jonny Blue, above, said his sign made drivers ask themselves why people were hoarding toilet paper.

Back in March, when ­COVID-19 had just started its deadly trek across the country and people were panicked about shortages of just about every staple of daily life, Jonny Blue focused on one particularly urgent need. Blue, a 33-year-old physical therapist and avid surfer from Encinitas, California, saw reports of people hoarding toilet paper. He came up with a simple yet brilliant solution. FYI: Here’s why panic buying is actually not helpful.

One Saturday morning, Blue took a piece of cardboard, wrote “Share Your Toilet Paper” on it in huge letters, and camped out on the corner of El Camino Real and Encinitas Boulevard.

“It just inspired me to remind people, listen, if you have a lot of something, that probably means there are people who don’t have very much of it because you took it all,” Blue said. “So sharing it is probably a good thing to keep in mind.”

The response was immediate and positive, with motorists honking horns in support. Drivers stopped to drop off spare rolls, and, just as quickly, Blue handed them off in an impromptu TP stock exchange. Get ready for all the feels with these 22 incredible things people have done to help out their neighbors.

“This guy said he just ran out and was going to a bunch of stores and couldn’t find any,” Blue said as cars whizzed by. “Somebody had given me some, so I gave it to him. He was stoked. He was like, ‘Do you want me to pay you?’ I said, ‘No, man. Take it.’ ”

A moment later, a driver in a white pickup truck slowed down just enough to toss out a roll to add to Blue’s burgeoning bundle.

“People are loving it,” Blue said. “They’re honking, smiling, laughing. It’s kind of a rough time right now. People want a sense of community.” Next, read this woman’s story of trying a bidet and why she’ll never use toilet paper again.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest