Triet Nguyen, a registered pharmacist who works at a Safeway in Northern Virginia, has been honored for hand-delivering prescriptions and flu shots to COVID-19-quarantined elderly customers during the past year.
An editorial board for the prescription savings service SingleCare selected the Annandale resident, known to his friends and neighbors as “Tony,” from thousands of customer nominations around the country for this year’s “Above and Beyond” award.
“I feel blessed to be chosen,” Mr. Nguyen told The Washington Times on Tuesday. “I just wanted to help them out and be there for them. It’s not a big deal for me.”
The 52-year-old employee of the Safeway store on Little River Turnpike said he started delivering prescriptions occasionally to homebound customers between his house and the store when he arrived there 15 years ago. He even took them grocery shopping because they didn’t drive, had no one to pick them up or had no money for transportation.
As more customers began staying home during the pandemic, he found himself delivering prescriptions, flu shots and shingles shots at least once a week for up to 12 frightened elderly residents.
“They’re weak, to begin with, and they’re more susceptible to getting very sick by catching something in the store. A lot of them don’t go out at all except for flu shots and immunizations,” said Mr. Nguyen, who moved to the area in 1998.
Although the pharmacy now mails prescriptions, it takes two days, and he and his assistant continue to deliver medicines for quarantined customers who can’t wait that long. He also consults with them on their medications and payments, helping them find cheaper copay options.
He said that sometimes the customers he visits offer him money and gifts, even though he doesn’t ask for anything in return.
“They’re very kind to me and this is a way for me to repay that kindness,” he said.
Born in Vietnam, Mr. Nguyen came to the United States in 1975 at age five when a military helicopter evacuated his family of nine from Saigon.
They ended up with a sponsor family in Toledo, Ohio, and he earned degrees in chemistry and pharmacy from Ohio State University.
“I remember that last day when everyone was panicking. It was exciting at the time and a little scary, but I’m more than happy we came over here,” Mr. Nguyen said. “I love living here and I think it’s the best nation in the world. You have all the opportunities to be successful if you put your mind to it.”