Trader Joe's employee helps teen, called 'hero'

Nick Marcus finds customer on verge of diabetic attack

Nick Marcus was just doing his job at Trader Joe's at Town and Country Shopping Center in Palo Alto when a phone call turned him into a hero Friday morning, Aug. 24.

On the other end of the receiver was Denise Danielson, whose daughter Haley Owens, 17, and her friends had gone to Trader Joe's. Haley had called her mother to say she was suffering from insulin shock and desperately needed juice to balance the insulin overload. But she didn't have her wallet and couldn't buy the sugary drink she needed, Danielson said.

"She needed help before she would suffer a seizure and lapse into unconsciousness. ... She could no longer think clearly. She desperately needed juice to help revive her. I knew she was in trouble," Danielson said.

Marcus, 34, was manning the customer service desk. He had noticed the teens when they entered the store, but now he could not see them amid the tall shelving.

So he called out Haley's name and searched the store until he located her. She had already grabbed some orange juice from the shelves and was drinking it. She told him she had taken some sugar pills to stave off the escalating attack.

Marcus helped the girl to a place where she could sit and kept an eye on her so that she would not fall or pass out. He planned to reimburse the store for the drink out of his own pocket and to give Haley an energy bar from his personal stash if needed, he said. His manager gave him permission to give her the juice on the house, he said.

"I get hypoglycemic sometimes," he said, adding that he understands what it feels like to have one's sugar out of balance. He has helped his diabetic mother manage her own disease, so he knew what to do, he said.

For Marcus, helping a person in need is just what he does; it's part of the service the store tries to provide, he said, and it is part of his nature.

Reading a deeply grateful note from Danielson praising his help, Marcus was overcome by emotion. His eyes welled with tears.

"I didn't know it was that severe," he said.

The store has helped many people at various times during a crisis, he said.

"Older folks sometimes need assistance, and we put chairs out here so they can rest," he said, standing outside the automatic doors as patrons hurried past.

A father of two, Marcus has worked for Trader Joe's for 13 years. He said he loves the job and the people and has worked at the Palo Alto store for about 1 years. He experienced one other serious medical emergency when he worked at the San Mateo store, he said.

"A customer had a seizure on the sales floor about six years ago," he recalled.

By the time Danielson arrived, her daughter was coming around, she said. In a world where people often turn away, Danielson said she is grateful for the small actions of a stranger that could have saved a life.

"Thank God for his quick thinking and actions, or my daughter would be in a hospital right now via ambulance. He is my hero, and I'm in tears as I write this," she said in an email to the Weekly. "Thank God for him."


Posted by Yay!, a resident of another community
on Aug 24, 2012 at 5:27 pm


Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 24, 2012 at 7:06 pm

So now it's heroic to give someone the price of a bottle of juice and a candy bar? Great job guy, but hero, not to mention he went and got permission from the manager. What has this world come to.

Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 24, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Another thing, when I got to Whole Foods and ask questions about the produce, often the floor people will give me a sample. He also could have done that, give her an orange or a banana - better than juice and a candybar anyway. I think they have done the same thing at Trader Joe's before ... not sure, but they should if they don't.

Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 24, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Republicans ought to be up in arms about this ... why should someone get free food? Don't you know there is no such thing as a fre lunch? Won't that lead to towards and "entitlement mentality" ... sure, she can just go anywhere, any of us can now and fake diabetic attack and get free food ... Ayn Rand is probably spinning in her grave ... if she's in it and not flying around under the full moon on hr broomstick with Paul Ryan!

Gotcha! ;-)

Posted by Hulkamania, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 24, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Maybe Anon should get a life.

Posted by Anon, a resident of another community
on Aug 24, 2012 at 7:57 pm

What a bunch of pessimists. Someone does a good deed and you put them down for it and make a big deal. Maybe you should try doing something good for someone. Someday you may need some help and nobody helps you. This world would be a much better place to live in if we helped a friend or neighbor. Can't you just praise the guy for doing good and just drop it at that instead telling him what he should have done. At least he tried and did something about it. The girls Mom was greatfull because someone was there to help.
Good Job Nick

Posted by MidtownMom, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 24, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Wonderful ! Thank you .. and no, I am not related to the girl .. its a good deed and needs to be acknowledged.

Posted by Emily, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 24, 2012 at 9:10 pm

Why is this news worthy? The girl had enough common sense to "borrow" some juice.

Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 24, 2012 at 10:01 pm

Come on, no one put the guy down ... there is a far cry between expressing the opinion that there is nothing heroic about buying someone drink and candy bar and putting that person down ... and as far as getting a life, how much of you life did you spend trying to think of that lame attack? It was a nice thing to do, sorry, but not heroic. Calling that heroic really is a put down to those who really are heroic.

Posted by Resident palo alto, a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 24, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Of course it is trader joe would NEVER be a Walmart employee

Posted by Nora Charles, a resident of Stanford
on Aug 25, 2012 at 1:38 am

Nick is a good samaritan, and any store would be lucky to have him as an employee.

Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 25, 2012 at 1:39 am

It very well could have been a Wal-Mart employee, I bet there are a lot more diabetic shoppers at Wal-Mart than Trader Joe's, certainly more chances.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 25, 2012 at 8:04 am

I agree that the word hero is inappropriate here. Nick is a good samaritan who did what I hope so many of us would have done in a similar situation.

A hero puts his own life at risk to save others. This is a nice story but please don't overplay what he did. I am so pleased that the teen is doing fine now.

Posted by evansmom, a resident of another community
on Aug 25, 2012 at 9:43 am

Nick is a great person and would help whoever needed it. Don't put him down for helping someone....Nick is loved by many and loves what he does. We love you Nick!!! Great job.

Posted by bambi, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 25, 2012 at 10:43 am

Whoa everyone. Try to see the good in things will you and stop all this negative talk.
Just pay attention to your surroundings and when others need help reach out a hand. Not turning a blind eye is hard for some people. Not wanting to get involved.
Why be so unkind with your words. It's nice things turned out well. That's all that matters. Heros are everywhere, big and small.

Posted by mw, a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 25, 2012 at 4:20 pm

A Walmart employee would get fired for giving the girl free anything and the girl would be charged with shoplifting.

Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 25, 2012 at 9:09 pm

> A Walmart employee would get fired for giving the girl free anything and the girl would be charged with shoplifting.

You don't know that, you are just playing into stereotypes.

> Try to see the good in things will you and stop all this negative talk.

It's not negative talk to say there was nothing heroic about doing a good deed. It is foolish talk to inflate it and probably embarrassing to the kid who did it. Why not put him up for a Nobel Peace prize if you think this was such an important incident? ;-)

> Don't put him down for helping someone

No one is putting him down ... I don't see on post here that is putting the kid down for doing what a kid or anyone else should do. Why this kind of Orwellian reverse attacks. If I take my kid to the doctor for a treatment of a fatal disease and he lives, am I a hero? Stop this kind of weirdness please.

Great job Nick, don't let this be the most heroic thing you ever do in your life! ;-)

Gosh, people have really learned how to spin with the best of the mainstream media, how awful, see what Fox News has done to everyone!

Posted by TJ veteran , a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 28, 2012 at 8:25 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by AnotherKidsMom, a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 28, 2012 at 4:21 pm

I take issue to the cynicism expressed in a number of these comments. Sometimes we all just need a feel-good story, and that's what this was. If it were my child who had wandered into TJ's in that state, you bet I would be thinking Nick was a hero.

Nick, if you're reading this (and I'm sure you are), hats off to you, and please ignore the rude responses of some of my fellow readers. We are lucky to have you in our community. Thank you.

Posted by Anon, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 30, 2012 at 6:27 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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