Editor’s note: This is one in a periodic series called Stepping Up, highlighting moments of compassion, duty and community in uncertain times. Have a story we should tell? Send it via email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Stepping Up.”
The last month on the job has been difficult for Michael Webber and grocery store workers everywhere.
First, there were the hordes of people rushing to stock up when the stay-home order to combat the coronavirus pandemic went into effect.
Then came an additional job responsibility: disinfecting every self-checkout kiosk, cart and basket after each customer.
“We have somebody at each entrance wiping down the handles on the carts and the baskets,” Webber, 30, told me over video chat during his lunch break at QFC in Everett.
In recent days, to ensure safe social distancing, grocery store workers have also been responsible for limiting the number of people inside the stores at any given time.
But Webber, who commutes daily by bus from Seattle, has no complaints about the extra work. In his 12 years at the same store, he has never experienced such a busy time. He has never been appreciated for his work so often either.
“People are thanking us for being here,” he said. “It makes me feel good.”