To the Amazing People Who Make Our Lives Safer

Thank you to all of the gig, service, delivery, postal and healthcare workers

Sidewalk chalk image reads: Thank you delivery people and postal workers!
Sidewalk chalk thank you from my daughters to our “essential” employees. Image was taken, and is owned, by the author.

NOTE: A version of this was originally published on February 20, 2020 at I feel like it is more important than ever to acknowledge our service workers, our “essential” workers who are keeping the country running while deal with COVID-19. This has been updated and edited.I see you. You’re walking dogs, walking babies, buying and delivering groceries, delivering meals, mail and packages. You’re working in hospitals, nursing homes and as home healthcare workers. It rained steadily for two days in Washington, DC and kept it up for most of that week. I sat in the coffee shop, facing the windows. I love people watching. I saw nannies with adorable babies in strollers with rain covers. I saw doctors coming home from a shift at the hospital. I was surrounded by other freelance workers and students. When you work in an office, you can forget how much happens during the day. So, as I sat there watching, I decided to express my appreciation for the people that make our lives easier. It’s necessary work,” essential” work, these days, as our lives and daily routines have changed so enormously. You’re doing it in the rain, the boiling heat and the snow. You are the recipient of happy doggy smiles and the gummy grins of babies. You hear the delighted laughter of toddlers. You also hear the cries and change the diapers. You pick up poop and walk for miles. You walk the grocery store aisles searching for the specific products requested by strangers. You wear gloves and masks, work without the proper protection equipment, and it still may not be enough. You work when others are “self-distancing” and staying or working from home. And now, you are on the frontlines of an invisible war. You are trying to help, asking all the right questions, watching as people die and worrying about whether you’ll be the next to get the virus. You are healthcare workers, grocery store employees, delivery drivers, ride share drivers, public transportation employees, restaurant workers and baristas. The U.S. Labor Secretary is using his position to undermine new laws enacted by Congress to make it more difficult for gig workers to receive much-needed unemployment benefits and makes it easier for some businesses to get away with not paying for coronavirus-related sick and family leave and complaining that he doesn’t want people to get addicted to government aid by writing on the Fox Business website that, “We want workers to work, not to become dependent on the unemployment system. Unemployment is not the preferred outcome when government stay-at-home orders force temporary business shutdowns.” These actions and comments are both demeaning to the millions of suddenly unemployed Americans and to those Americans still going to work and risking their health to do it. I want you to know that most of your fellow citizens do not feel this way. We value you and the work you are doing. We value our friends, neighbors and strangers who have found themselves without work in recent days.

Sidewalk chalk message reads: Stay Strong! Stay Safe! Stay Six Feet Apart!
Sidewalk chalk message by my daughters and a friend, for our neighbors, friends and “essential” employees. Image was taken, and is owned by, the author.

Thank you. Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for doing the work that means so much we sometimes can’t find the words to express our gratefulness. And, thank you for doing the work that we take for granted. It is incredibly important. I know you often don’t get paid enough for the work you do. It’s hard. It’s tedious and often repetitive. It’s joyful and fun. It’s simultaneously silly and deadly serious.I just wanted you all to know that someone sees your work and appreciates the time and effort it takes. Thanks for doing the work that makes our lives easier and safer.