Covid-19 has been all the news lately, it's fundamentally changed our lives in just a few weeks. People are scared, not knowing what will happen next.
I'm an eternal optimist, so I know that we WILL get through this, but that doesn't mean there won't be hard times ahead. But I fully believe that everything thrown at us in life teaches us something incredibly valuable, you don't always know what that is as first, but one day you'll realize exactly what all the craziness during this time has taught you for the future. It could be something as simple as realizing that before this time, maybe you didn't really know your neighbor, and because of this situation, suddenly your community widened and now you feel more a part of the bigger picture than you ever had. Or it could make you realize that you're spending far too much time on your phone and not enough time with your family. Whatever it is, trust me, we'll all be better for it.
Mr. Rogers said that when he was a child and saw something scary in the news, his mother would tell him, 'Look for the helpers'. Right now our helpers are the 'essential employees'. The doctors, nurses, scientists, medical staffs, first responders, anchors, talk show hosts, reporters, truckers, warehouse workers, grocery store workers, restaurant workers and more. These are the helpers we see every day, and sometimes, we don't remember they're helpers and treat them as we should.
I want to tell you about the guy in the photo above. That's my hubby, Tim. Our 10th wedding anniversary is later this year, we've been together for 19 years and I've known him for 27 years. Some may remember him as 'Dick Cabeza,' parody and bit king for The Bill Handel Show, or you may remember him from the Tim & Neil show, the talk show he hosted for several years on KFI with Neil Saavedra. When my hubby left the radio business, he decided to work for Costco. He's been there 17+ years now, and in all of those years, he told me that he's never seen anything like he's seen these last few weeks.
He works for the second busiest Costco in the U.S. (if you're curious about the busiest Costco, it's widely regarded to be the one in Iwilei, Oahu, Hawaii) On a regular day it's consistantly packed and can do well over a million dollars in sales, but it's been ten times worse than normal for the last few weeks, and he's been working his ass off.
On a slow day, there are always about 30-50 people waiting for the store to open, but when all of this started, they were seeing 600, 700 people lined up at the door before opening, they could figure this based on the fact that every cart and flat was in the hands of people waiting to get into the store. And those first days, he said, people rushed in during opening and literally going 'crazy'. Pushing people to grab items off shelves, being rude to workers that tried to calm the crowds down. Now, hubby is 6'3 and pretty bulky, so he's not easily pushed around. But people were so freaked out about hoarding water, toilet paper and sanitizing wipes that they were willing to literally try pushing him out of the way. He was working overtime, managers were working 7-day weeks, everyone was literally putting their health at risk every day, just to make sure you have toilet paper, water and Clorox wipes.
Those first few days were crazy, until the team came up with a solid plan on how to manage it all and not overwhelm the staff. His store was one of the first to organize the lines of people waiting to get in, limit the amount of customers in the store at one time, limit the amount of items you can buy, create social distancing markers on the floors to keep people apart, while also making sure employees were kept safe by providing gloves, masks, santizing wipes, and even opening only every OTHER line to ensure that employees were observing the social distancing guidelines. All of this has helped to make his store work efficiently, giving customers a much less stressful experience, and easing pressure on employees not to mention one of the few stores that can keep toilet paper and water consistently in stock for the entire day.
Hubby and I are both considered 'essential workers', but while I have been afforded the ability to be able to do the bulk of my work from home, he doesn't have that luxury, and for all of you who have been into a Costco, other warehouse store or grocery store in the last few weeks, think back to how busy it was and how frustrating it was for you and take a moment to imagine how frustrating it was for all those that work there. I can not tell you how many stories he's told me over the last few weeks of rude customers yelling at him because of the item limit or questioning when the next truck of toilet paper would be there to unload, or how a healthy 30-year-old customer started screaming at an obviously in need of help 75-year-old customer with a cane because they made the mistake of not lining up properly. It wasn't until earlier this week that he said he saw a significant sea change in the attitude of people, he's now getting 'thank yous' and smiles of appreciation from customers instead of distain.
Despite all of this, throughout the last few weeks, his concern has been for me. Even though they are taking precautions at his work, he realizes that he's literally among thousands of people every single day, and he 'could' potentially bring something home to me without knowing it. Because of that, we discussed early on how we could avoid any potential problems. So we're practicing social distancing at home, sitting in different chairs when watching TV, sleeping in different beds, Lysol spraying common areas, couches and beds, washing our hands purposely more than usual. He's promised to make it all up to me when this is all over, and I know he's good for it, because he loves me and I love him...he's right up there with the best man I've ever known, my dad.
So the next time you're out buying groceries at Costco or wherever you shop, or you're picking up take out, or you see a first responder, or medical worker, Take a minute to thank those 'essential workers' that are still putting themselves out there every day to make sure that you have what you need and are safe.
Trust me, they'll appreciate it. ❤