Please forgive me.
Forgive my ignorance.
Forgive my carelessness... my frivolous antics...
You are always so kind to me. From the moment you hear the whoosh and *ding dong* of the doors alerting you of my presence to the moment you send me off with my purchase, you are never anything shy of pure kindness.
You always wave and welcome me with the usual greeting of: "Hello, welcome to Wahlgreens." I know that it's required of you to greet me in this way, but with you, there is no monotony in your tone, I've noticed. Nor is there tedium in your handling of transactions.
I'm sure these would be completely natural developments considering how many times a day you offer that greeting and transact with customers, and trust me, I've noticed plenty of your co workers succumb to this natural unfolding of blan repetition, but not you.
Your genuineness might go overlooked by most, but not by me. I appreciate your unique greeting, even though it's such a small thing. But then again, those make the biggest difference.
Even during this pandemic, you can be found at the same counter offering up the same mundane greeting, but with a tone of genuine buoyancy, and through a disposable mask no less.
This is why I must apologize.
I'll be the first to admit that I didn't take this pandemic seriously when it first came to light. Even a month after people were wearing masks, I still wasn't taking it as seriously as I should have.
I continued to go about my days in the same way I always have. You wouldn't find any mask or hand sanitizer on my person or even in my car. I simply did not care about this virus.
I didn't watch the news. I didn't know of it's severity in the numbers or the heartbreak it was bringing to families. I stayed distanced from all of it. What you don't know can't hurt you, right? I may have distanced myself from the reality of this pandemic, but I wasn't distancing myself from you, Patty.
If I got down with this sickness that was "just a little bit worse than the flu" then I would be alright. I'm young- my immune system will kick this and then I'll be back. No harm, no foul.
This was my attitude. This was my attitude for a while... I'm ashamed to admit it, but it's the truth.
What I was failing to realize during my time of ignorance was that if I got sick, so what? I'll live. I stopped at that and didn't think any further. What I should have realized was regardless if I get sick or not, I could actually be carrying these germs and this horrible virus to someone like you, Patty.
Someone who is in the Winter of their lives... someone who doesn't have as strong of an immune system as I have. Someone who should, at a time like this, not be in the public. Someone who should be indoors- knitting little caps and booties for their grand babies- not dealing with inconsiderate jerks like me 8 hours out of the day.
Instead of being at home where you belong, you're here. You work for a necessary business. You're here working this job because you need this job. You didn't have the luck of being furloughed and reaping unemployment benefits like so many others far younger than yourself- others that could withstand the current condition of the public and honestly, should be working instead of people like you.
You're fragile and I should've been more aware of that. I'm sorry.
I'm sorry for all the times I was closer than six feet and wasn't wearing a mask.
I'm sorry for so rudely talking on my phone while you were checking me out.
What I'm even more sorry for are some of the things you heard me say; like how I was so infuriated with my workplace for requiring me to wear a mask; like saying I don't care if I get the virus because I'm young- I'll survive; like saying how happy I was to be furloughed because I would finally have some down time; like saying how stupid it was that I couldn't go inside with my sister when I took her to the clinic because of this stupid virus.
Patty, I can only imagine how you felt while I said those things. I sounded so privileged and selfish and I couldn't be more disgusted with myself.
Whether you were disgusted or felt some kind of way toward me in those instances, you never displayed it. You were always the kind, happy-go-lucky Patty I've always known.
That's why I must apologize and express how much of a hero you are. You may think you're just doing your job- only now with a mask and a few other safety measures- but you're doing way more than just your job.
You are on the front lines just as much as our doctors, nurses, pharmacists, construction workers... the list goes on. You are needed for the public to obtain their necessities.
You're providing amazing service to ignorant people like myself- risking your health and well being for a frozen dinner and my third tube of lip balm.
I do think it's stupid what this virus is doing to the world. I think it's stupid that it's the year 2020 and we can't combat this pandemic any better than we are right now. It's stupid how trivial I have been toward this virus.
What's not stupid is the many lives this virus has stolen. What's not stupid is the amount of jobs that have been lost. What's not stupid is if this virus was to take a kind life like yours, Patty.
I pray this pandemic swiftly ends. I pray that one day soon you can wake up and go to work without wearing a mask, without risking your health.
Until that day, Patty, every time you see me, I'll have my mask on. I'll greet you as chipper as you greet me. I'll speak with you at my time of check out and not with someone on the other end of my device.
You're my hero, Patty. I don't have the utmost respect for you because at your age you're doing your job in lieu of this pandemic. That is a contributing reason, but it's the way you're doing it.
Never lose your genuine, giving and kind spirit. The world needs more people like you Patty, pandemic or not.