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On a hot afternoon in late May, an employee paid for a ride to get two customers home

PMG PHOTO: PATRICK MALEE - When two Lake Oswego residents were having trouble calling for a ride home on a hot day outside Trader Joe's, a helpful employee stepped up. Lake Oswego resident Nelson Hiraoka and his wife, Masumi, had gone grocery shopping at the Lake Oswego Trader Joe's on Bangy Road May 27 when Nelson had issues calling a Lyft home afterwards.

The couple was outside for almost an hour with six bags of groceries before an employee came to help. It was almost 90 degrees out.

Nelson said he had just purchased a new phone and was having issues with calling and the Lyft app was not working.

"It was pretty warm out that day," said Nelson's son, Steve Hiraoka, who lives in California and was trying to help from a distance. "I decided to call the customer service at Trader Joe's. I just explained that situation to them."

But store captain Jeff Konoske said one of their employees had already brought them water and was helping with the Lyft app.

Nelson and Masumi didn't realize that not only did the employee call them a Lyft ride home, she also paid for it.

"What impressed me about it as the store manager is that she did it without asking," Konoske said, adding that the employee went above and beyond what her job required. "She took the steps to make the customer's day without asking permission to figure out what was appropriate, what was not.

"She found a way to make this couples' day."

"I was surprised myself because we were in such a situation that I didn't know what to do," Nelson said. "For a person that you never met to be so nice, it was really hard for me to realize that you find so many nice people like that, that you don't even expect."

Though Nelson said he didn't live too far from the grocery store, the help meant a lot because he had a stroke about a year ago.

"It makes it that much more difficult for me," Nelson said. "My thinking and everything else slows down."

Steve said he felt like this act of kindness from the Trader Joe's employee shouldn't go unnoticed, especially in today's climate.

"(It's) good to know there's young people out there that have a good heart," Steve said. "In lieu of all the things that are happening with the riots, COVID-19 and the protesting, it's good to have some good news.

"It's just a nice stark contrast to what's going in this current state of affairs."


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