On Labor Day 2020, about six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the country was hailing our service workers as heroes and giving them the same status as the nurses, doctors and epidemiologists trying to keep us healthy and save our lives.
Today, another year into the pandemic, these same service workers are finding themselves the target of a frustrated and angry population who has, quite frankly, had enough. While just trying to do their jobs, they are getting yelled at, ridiculed and told they are stupid.
Yet these same service workers are those who have stuck with it and continued to do their jobs as others stayed home, collecting the extra $300 or $600 a week in unemployment payments provided by the government.
At the risk of COVID-19, they have been cooking for us; delivering our mail, newspapers and Amazon packages; bagging our groceries; and making sure we have electricity and high-speed internet service vital to ensuring many of us can work from the safety of our homes.
These workers are our neighbors, friends and family. Unfortunately, too many of us these days have belittled them because of an extra 10- or 15-minute wait for a carryout order, or a service appointment couldn’t be made at the exact time, or there was a line at the store. Too often, the service workers are the only person available to do a job that normally may require two, three or four people.
Let’s give these service workers a break, and maybe we all just need to take a breath.
Going after a front-line employee is unnecessary and doesn’t do anyone any good. Yes, everyone is facing their own challenges on a number of levels and ways. But consider how we can all support one another in simple ways, and with some understanding, even if you have a legitimate complaint.
Let’s fight against this angry behavior and treat these important workers with respect and empathy. And when they ask you to put on a mask, they are doing so because the state told them to, and it’s for your own, and everyone else’s, health and safety. Just do it without giving anyone some gruff.
So, please be kind, and, remember, there’s a real person on the other end of the phone or at the checkout counter. Thank them for the job they are doing and the service they are providing.
And wish them a happy Labor Day.