There is a normal, everyday guy living in the 6ème arrondissement of Paris. By trade he is a pharmacist....you might even have walked by or gone into his pharmacy on rue Mignon while on a trip to Paris and thought nothing of it. After all, it's just a pharmacy you might have thought.....and most days you would have been right, but not of late.....
Heroes are often like this...normal people, happy with their anonymity and simple daily lives, much of it spent in their neighbourhoods and their cities, and with friends and family. Nothing special, just one of billions and satisfied that way.
Circumstances pushed Fabien Bruno into the light. With the arrival of Covid-19 in early March, he witnesses firsthand the shortage of hand sanitiser in Paris. Demand spiked as citizens came to grips with the situation and the supply chain could no longer fulfil the demand. So he took matters into his own hands. He starting making sanitiser gel in his small laboratory in the back of his pharmacy, but quickly realised that he could not make enough to make a difference.
He might have been forgiven if he had stopped there. But not Fabien Bruno. He went to the "Mairie", the mayor's office, and proposed a bold plan. One that would require the city to close the street behind his pharmacy so that he could build an outdoor laboratory. He understood that if he could scale up production quickly, he could make a difference. Today with the help of his employees and neighbours he produces 10.000 liters/day, the equivalent of 100.000 individual disposable bottles and supplies hospitals, pharmacies and retirement homes across France. The breakthrough idea: use "bag in the box" wine containers to store the finished product. It makes it easy to store and ship. Simple, yet brilliant.
Fabien Bruno asked for nothing. He did not blame anyone nor did he waste time wishing things would be different. He simply went about trying to help in the best way he could. That he is making a difference is likely. That he is an inspiration is a hope. That he is a hero is a certainty.
Human ingenuity is a beautiful thing. Bravo Mr. Fabien Bruno and thank you for the inspiration.
This post is part of my series: Covid-19 Champions.
Photos credit: Aurelien Morissard/Xinhua