Man with suspected coronavirus finds help in the most unusual place, Grindr

A chance encounter on Grindr lead to an extraordinary act of kindness in the midst of the global pandemic.

Left Tarik Dobbs smiling, right Tarik Dobbs wearing a mask. Dobbs shared his story on how a stranger he met through Grindr helped him during the coronavirus pandemic

Tarik Dobbs, who works as a teaching assistant at the University of Minnesota, began to feel ill on Friday, March 13 after spending time with a friend on their book tour. Based on his symptoms and after consulting with doctors both online and by phone, it was suggested that Dobbs get tested for COVID-19, more commonly known as the coronavirus. Although there are several drive-through testing centres for the virus across Minnesota, Dobbs was unfortunately unable to go to any as he doesn’t have a car and instead was forced to walk to the closest hospital where he was held in isolation for hours before being tested. Feeling scared and unsure as to whether or not he indeed had contracted coronavirus, Dobbs did not expect he would find help through Grindr. 

Over a week after being tested for the coronavirus, Dobbs was still waiting for the results and was quarantining at home alongside his two roommates. While stuck at home with nothing to do, Dobbs decided to open up his Grindr account to pass some time. Dobbs explained to BuzzFeed that although he has a boyfriend the couple both use the app to make friends and meet new people, and especially with people self-isolating there are much more people active on the app than ever before. 

As it turns out, Dobbs was talking to a retired doctor, who began to question him about his symptoms. Unsure if he was being genuine or not, Dobbs sent the mystery man a picture of his hand and asked the alleged doctor if he could identify his congenital birth defect, which the man correctly determined as Poland syndrome.

Dobbs said that the man became “very concerned” about his well being and offered his help immediately saying; “You need a team, so I want to be part of that team and be an advocate for you.” The doctor who later spoke to BuzzFeed and only identified himself as “Dr.Gary” admitted he has had a hard time “trying to stay out of doctor mode,” since he was forced to retire early due to illness. 

Two days after the men began talking, Gary turned up at Dobbs’ home with a large amount of food for both him and his roommates, including a plate of poached salmon and balsamic asparagus he had cooked earlier that day.

Dobbs first shared his Grindr story with Brandon Stanton who is running a series focusing on people who are in quarantine due to coronavirus for his Humans of New York photoblog. 

Since then, there has been an outpouring of support for the man only known as “Dr. Gary“ online.

Despite all that’s going on at the moment, Gary’s act of kindness helped a person in need and touched the hearts of many more across the globe. 

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