|By Mark Carey
You know the man in the supermarket you saw today as you hurried for the last roll of TP… yes the one with the facemask and plastic gloves. Was he wearing the protective essentials because he was sick or because he was trying not to get the Coronavirus? Were you afraid to go near him? Should he wear a symbol (red or green) indicating he was infected or not?
The internal reaction you had was most likely a flight and fight response you could not suppress. But did you have enough information about this masked shopper to really render a rational conclusion that it was safe to pass? Probably not. He could have been shopping for an elderly couple, sitting in their car in front of the store, performing a good samaritan deed and wore the protective gear to ensure he was not infecting the food he was gathering. Would that make you feel different about this fellow?
What if the masked shopper lived with a family of five, all of whom were now contagious with the Coronavirus and the Dad, the only noninfected family member, was wearing the protective gear 24/7 in order to care for his family. Someone must still shop for food when nearly the entire family becomes ill. Would this make you feel different about him?
As we all move through these very uncertain and anxiety filled times, I ask you all to hold your judgments about each other until you can obtain more information, and then don’t judge. Maybe exchange a few words and see if the person is ok, instead of ignoring them. Or just express a warm “hello” or “good morning”. Everyone has a story or will have a story about how they are coping with this national tragedy, including the New Rochelle Man. We all will need more compassion and less bias in order to get through this.
According to a recently released Centers of Disease Control projection modeling, 160-214 million Americans are expected to contract the Coronavirus; you and I stand a good chance to become inflicted. When you do, you will immediately wonder how people will judge you and whether you were careless in your pre-infection days, going to work or a party with a cough or jumped on an airplane. The point is, no one knew they had the infection before it was too late, as no knows what the early stages of the Coronavirus feel like.
The Coronavirus does not discriminate based on sex, race, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual stereotype, age or political ideology. We are now ALL on the same team. Show a smile to a passerby, saw hello instead of looking down or away, volunteer to buy groceries or cook for the elderly, call your parents more often. Take care of the home team, because we ALL need you right now. Finally, do not forgot what expressing or receiving compassion feels like when this is all over, we need to continue to take care of our home team no matter our differences. Give a Shaka today.
If you need immediate assistance, please email our Employee Coronavirus Hotline and we will attempt respond to your questions. Mark Carey can be reached at 203-255-4150 or firstname.lastname@example.org.