Well, dear internet people, we’ve gone through the looking glass, haven’t we?
This week our newspaper offices closed and dispatched everyone to work from home. My son and his new wife are working from home in Austin and have been for two weeks. My daughter has been working from home for about 10 days, and now is in lockdown in Chicago. All this in the hopes that we don’t transmit COVID-19, the novel and deadly coronavirus, and make this horrible pandemic worse than it is.
Sam is not working from home. And his team is working harder than ever at the WinCo warehouse, because people keep buying groceries and home cleaning supplies at a crazy pace. Their warehouse supplies stores throughout the region. I can’t even imagine what some of those logistics folks are going through right now.
(Here’s just a little PSA to remind you, dear internet people, that there is a line between being prepared and hoarding. If you cross it, you are hurting other people more than you can know — other people you may need one day to help keep you alive. Stock what you use, and use what you stock.)
A tiny part of me wants to pull the disability card and protect Sam and keep him home, too. But that’s not right.
We have already lost one extended family member to the virus. It’s swift and deadly. It requires something new and different from all of us to survive: heroic levels of cooperation and consideration.
I ask him each day how he’s doing, how his team is doing and how the crews are doing keeping things clean at work. Sam is a straight-forward guy. He says everyone is stressed and working hard and also doing their best to stay clean and keep apart. They canceled their regular safety meeting because, well, that wouldn’t be safe.
He’s concerned, but he also wants to be a helper. As Mr. Rogers says, when things are going horribly wrong, look for the people who are helping. Warehouse workers in my town and everywhere in the world are hustling to move product and keep it all from collapsing. I can’t even.
Through the years, different people have said to me that Sam was their hero. Truly, he’s been mine, too. But that’s not quite the same as being _a_ hero.
He put on his jeans and work boots each day this week, walked out the door and came back nine hours later exhausted and hungry, but knowing he did his part.
Internet people, Sam is a hero. We can be, too.