Here’s a hopeful bit of news: Minnesota Public Radio ran a short profile of a grocery store employee in the Twin Cities who’s found a new sense of purpose and identity during the coronavirus pandemic. Have a listen. Or if you hate using your ears, it’s basically this:
The grocery guy, Trevon Teller, is a 19-year-old college student whose classes are going online. He initially took the job to pay the rent, like most folks do, and never really garnered any sense of self from it. It was just a means to an end. Over the past week, as grocery stores have gone from “common if forgettable places” to “essential businesses” to “really the only place we can go and see other people,” Teller’s day job has similarly become more urgent. It’s not the job he signed up for, but it’s now critical he shows up to work every day, stays healthy, and keeps his community fed and safe. After college, Trevon plans to go to seminary to be a “radical Lutheran pastor,” which is the most Twin Cities thing I’ve ever heard.
The moral? We should be treating our grocery store employees with this much respect all the time! Folks like Trevon keep the world spinning, pandemic or not. Hopefully this pandemic will open our eyes to how easily germs spread, and how grocery store workers are on the front lines of disease all the time. In the meantime, remember that folks working minimum wage jobs are literally putting their lives at risk to keep us safe.