There’s a lot of coronavirus coverage to read today (and every day), but make sure to set aside some time to read this opinion piece in The New York Times from Dylan Morrison, a writer and a food service worker at a supermarket in Cleveland.
It’s headlined, “Coronavirus Advice from a Grocery Store Worker,” and carries the subheadline, “Be kind. Don’t let the weight of your grief and anger fall on our shoulders.” The piece starts this way:
For the last two years, I have worked two jobs: one full-time position in food service at a grocery store, and one part-time as a receptionist at a hair salon. I took five days off in October to get married, and I haven’t had a vacation longer than that since 2017. I’ve worked every major holiday since then, too.
Mostly, I love my job. The customers were often kind, one of them going so far as to bring me a gift this holiday season. My co-workers formed their own little community, offering rides, sharing food and listening to others vent.
Now, with the coronavirus, the job is entirely different. I can hand customers the chicken salad they ordered, or show them where the rice would be if it wasn’t out of stock, but it’s clear that no one’s day is being improved, even minutely, by these actions.
Stress levels now are high, for customers and workers, and everything has changed. By all means read the whole thing. But take away this powerful conclusion from the author:
“I beg you to show kindness to service workers. I beg you not to take out your fear, frustration and despair on the courageous people who show up every day to help you. All of them would surely love to be at home but most cannot, despite their years of hard work, afford to step away for even a moment.
Don’t let the weight of your grief and anger fall on the shoulders of service workers. They are already carrying enough.”