OPINION: Essential workers deserve a reward


EP Presnell and Ofelia Mattingly

They’re the people you see at the store every time you walk in, wiping down carts and greeting you. They’re the people who still take their daily commute. They’re the people who answer the phone and take your orders, saying thanks and smiling behind a mask. They’re the people who, even with some minor modifications, still make you feel like the world is a little bit normal. From saving lives to scooping your ice cream, they’re the people still working.  

Nowadays they’re hard to find, but they’re still there. From teens in high school to older folks, not everybody is staying in their homes 24/7 and they’re keeping us running. Without the doctors, grocery store clerks, baristas, cashiers, door dashers and the countless other jobs that people are still doing, we, as a society, couldn’t function in the midst of this coronavirus pandemic. So although they’re “lucky” to keep working and keep a steady paycheck coming, when this is all over and life slowly goes back to normal, they deserve a reward of some sort for their work done now. 

Lives at risk 

The first and perhaps most obvious reason these workers deserve more recognition is that they’re putting their lives on the line just by being around people. Doctors and nurses are obviously at a higher risk of contracting something because they are around sick patients every day, but even a job as simple as a cashier or a food worker will deal with customers all day long. 

Cashiers touch every object you place into your cart and stand fairly close to you even if you don’t realize it. They hand you your receipt,  take your coupons, touch and sometimes even place things into your cart depending on the store you go to. 

These workers have to go around the store restocking items, helping customers and counting how many people have gone into the store. Essential workers have to go to work every day and risk their lives being around people, with some not even abiding by the rules that are set to protect us. They go to work and do their job, proving that they are brave — even in these uncertain times.

Working Everyday

Second, these essential workers have to take time out of their day to actually go to work. Workers have to restock shelves, count how many people have entered the store, follow the rules and regulations set for them, and help their customers. Aside from the obvious risk of working, they are showing up and providing for people like us, who have the privilege of choosing to stay home.


Third, some essential workers don’t have access to health care or paid medical leave. Even if these workers weren’t feeling good, they still have to work so they can earn money for themselves. 

What we can do

As customers, we should follow the rules and regulations set to protect us and the workers. We should make sure to wear a mask and gloves and maintain a good distance away from others. Workers should get hazard pay since they have to work under these conditions. Customers should also be kind to the workers and not argue with them.

If you would like to help workers still in business, consider leaving a tip the next time you go out. Just the smallest thing can help people still working and it shows kindness as a community.