by Donte Martin, a front-end manager and UFCW Local 400 member at Giant in Silver Spring, MD, as told to Washington Post editor Sophia Nguyen
I’ve worked in grocery stores since I was 20 years old. The best part of my job has always been the people. You never know who you might talk to during the day: It could be someone who’s homeless, or someone with a million dollars in their bank account. Everyone has to buy food. Working here, you see the actual face of society. That’s the worst part of my job now...Some people have lashed out at the requirement that customers wear masks indoors...My co-workers and I read stories about customers attacking employees at Target and McDonald’s, or see footage of people bringing guns to state capitols, and it scares us. You never know how or when someone will lash out...I wish more people knew that grocery store employees take care of the community. I wish we had Plexiglas at our work stations, and more protective equipment...Our work feeds thousands, and none of us get paid much to do it. Most of us don’t have much choice: It’s either go to work or go hungry. We’re on the front lines, unprotected in almost every aspect. We’re vulnerable to the virus, and we’re vulnerable to other human beings.