Courtney Meadows, a cashier at a Kroger in Beckley, W.Va., knows her job carries new risks these days, but she also sees the positive side of life as an essential worker.
"It might sound silly for some, but for me, I'm grateful that I can still get up and go to work," Meadows says. "I'm one of these people ... I probably will go stir-crazy if I had to stay home."
During this pandemic, several grocery stores have carved out special shopping times for seniors, pregnant women and also people with underlying health conditions. Kroger is no exception and Meadows especially enjoys that hour in the morning.
"Just to be able to spend that one-on-one time with the elderly customers and get to talk to them. ... They definitely make me laugh," she says. "And to just put a little positivity in their lives, it makes you feel good."
Meadows, who has worked as a grocery store cashier for almost 10 years, says the coronavirus has changed how other people see her job.
"It's definitely eye-opening because people are now saying, 'Oh, my God, these people deserve hazard pay.' But these are the same people who say we don't deserve $15 an hour," she says. Now, she says, they appreciate that workers like her are putting their lives on the line to bring everyone else milk, bread and other essentials.
"We are people. We have important jobs. You know?" she says. "I mean, not everybody's cut out to be a lawyer. Not everybody's cut out to be a doctor. Not everybody's cut out to be a nurse. And not everybody is cut out to be a grocery worker."