We see lawn signs and newspaper articles thanking health care workers and first responders for all they do. This show of appreciation is well deserved by those individuals and is a great morale booster for them during these times.
It can be hard to remember all of those we rely on for help. Unfortunately, sometimes the ones that we depend on the most are those we unintentionally take for granted.
The few times retail workers have been thanked comes across as an afterthought. Not to prioritize the importance of our county’s diverse retail employees, but unequivocally without supermarket employees providing the essential foods needed daily by health care workers and first responders, hospitals would be shuttered and sirens wouldn’t blare. These workers deal with hundreds of customers daily, putting themselves at a much higher risk than most essential workers of catching and transmitting the virus, an emotional drain in itself.
It also has caused them to make personal sacrifices. One such supermarket employee, who I’ll refer to as “TK,” has always been armed with an infectious ear-to-ear smile when greeting customers followed by a cheerful “hi,” guaranteeing to brighten their day.
Should a conversation develop, you soon realize you’re talking to the world’s proudest grandma. Since the pandemic started, her biggest sacrifice is to stop the daily hugs and kisses her young grandchildren wait for all day, fearing she could infect them. This sacrifice, along with the emotional drain of being in a high-risk work environment, has dimmed that great smile.
Maybe in the near future health care workers, first responders and shoppers can reciprocate by showing their gratitude and help boost the morale of supermarket employees by doing a drive by with a big thank you sign.