Grocery Employee With Down Syndrome Wants To Do More Amid Pandemic
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Steven Eull has been working both his jobs at Hy-Vee and Target through the COVID-19 outbreak, but the 35-year-old St. Paul man still doesn’t feel like he’s doing enough.
So last week, Eull, who has Down syndrome and lives with his mother, dumped the contents of his piggy bank out on his kitchen counter and started counting.
Then he jammed all the coins and bills he’s collected in tips bagging groceries into an envelope, wrote “President Trump” and “Congress” on the front with “For all the people to help with coronavirus” underneath, and told his mom, Patsy Eull, he plans to send it off.
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Crammed with coins and lacking an address, Patsy Eull suspects it won’t get far. But she plans to write a check for the amount — about $28 — and send it off herself.
She shared the story with the Pioneer Press, saying it was a bright spot amid lots of bad news, adding that Steven Eull is an avid newspaper reader.
That’s how he’s been staying abreast of coronavirus news.
“So he knows just enough at this point to be a little dangerous,” Patsy Eull joked. “He is just obsessed with it and very concerned about all the people.”
She was getting dinner ready when Steven Eull plunked down his piggy bank, which is shaped like a chocolate bar.
Math is a challenge for Steven Eull, so it took him about an hour to sort the coins into various piles, Patsy Eull said, adding that his count was off by about $1,000.
“This is coming from a young man who makes about $600 a month but is willing to give everything he has to help others,” she wrote in her email describing her son’s gesture.
While heartwarming, Steven Eull’s plan didn’t surprise his mother, who said the young man is known for his generosity and kind heart.
He asks her sister to take him shopping anytime any occasion, big or small, comes up to buy gifts for his mom and others.
“I just retired from 3M after 40 years and he was all bent out of shape because he couldn’t have a retirement party for me (because of the pandemic), so I come home on my last day and there is this big sign on my door that says “Happy Retirement Mom,” Patsy Eull recalled, adding that he also never fails to have a Starbucks coffee waiting for her when she picks him up from his job at Hy-Vee because he knows she loves coffee. There is a location inside the grocery store.
“It’s just those little things. He is just very thoughtful.”
In addition to working at the grocery store and retailer a combined five days a week — where Eull does everything from bagging groceries to cleaning carts these days — he also is active in the Special Olympics.
Sports and work are two of his great passions, his mom said. While sports have stalled amid the pandemic, Steven Eull has continued to happily go to work uninterrupted despite his awareness of the risks.
He was eager to discuss his donation, but it can be difficult to understand what he’s saying for those who don’t know him, so his mom helped relay his responses.
When asked how he hopes it will help, he jumped right in, talking excitedly for over a minute.
“He says he wants to have a victory because they keep saying this is a war against a hidden enemy so he wants a victory and more donations,” Pasty Eull said. She added, after Steven Eull chimed in again, that he’s particularly hopeful that the money will help speed up vaccine trials so one can get developed sooner. Vaccines are something the two have talked a lot about lately.
He also shared that the pandemic doesn’t scare him, personally, but he does fear for other people, and said he hopes the number of those infected will start coming down soon.
In addition to his piggy bank contribution, Steven Eull said he plans to donate his next Target paycheck plus the additional earnings he makes when he gets a raise from the retailer for hitting his 10-year-mark in September.
“Do you think we are going to get through this,” he was asked at the end of the interview. “Yes, that’s right we are,” he said.
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