FAIRFAX, Va. — The calls, emails, and texts are bombarding a 7-year-old Fairfax County philanthropist, after former President Barack Obama tweeted his admiration.
But right at this moment, Zohaib Begg is too busy to come to the phone. His mom, Isma Zubair, said he cannot talk until he finishes his school work late Tuesday afternoon.
Obama singled out Zohaib for gathering shower caps, masks and gloves from idle hotels near Ashburn and donating them to Inova Fairfax Hospital.
Zohaib went to half a dozen hotels, and collected a massive stash: 6,000 items that he gave to the hospital to help protect health workers who have been struggling to find enough personal protective equipment.
His mother said he was inspired by his aunt, who works in an emergency room, and said she did not have protective headgear to wear during her next shift.
At first, the family considered swim caps, because Isma Zubair is a swimmer. But then Zohaib hit on the idea of shower caps from local hotels, and the plan just blew up from there.
Not all the attention has been gushing.
Ali Abunimah tweeted, "Why is America’s health system so broken that it needs 7-year-old's to risk their health (and that of their elders) to go out scavenging for supplies?"
Zohaib said the best part was seeing the delivery truck roll out loaded with all the PPE he'd collected.
His mother said Zohaib decided to donate to Inova Fairfax because he'd been a patient there when he was four and doctors removed a tumor from his abdomen.