Meet Kim Lewis, if you haven’t already. If you shop at Jordan’s Supermarket on the west coast, she may have been the one to check your items. And if you are a regular, you would have realized she has been consistently at her post, not just throughout the pandemic, but throughout the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Because of her devotion and outstanding abilities, store manager Paul Gaskin recommended that we chat with her.
Kim told TODAY’s Woman that it has been hard since the arrival of COVID-19 on our shores in March 2020.
“What was particularly challenging in the 2020 lockdown, was filling the online orders for customers because while you want to make sure that they are satisfied with what they receive, the issue would arise when a specific brand of an item was requested but it was not available,” she said.
She admitted that this year, with the ongoing curfew, cashiers are trying to be as efficient as possible but the long lines have been a mood damper for many.
Having worked as a cashier for more than a decade, Kim explains that the way some have gone about their shopping in the pandemic was inconsiderate to other customers.
“During this lockdown, there were two types of shoppers: the intentional grocery shopper and the miscellaneous shopper. The miscellaneous shopper is the one who is picking up odds and ends. Because the trip to the supermarket is out of want of something to do for the miscellaneous shopper, they help to make the line longer, so when the Intentional shopper sees the long line, it’s a turn-off,” she said.
“It’s way more considerate to write a list and plan the visits to the supermarket and be like the intentional shopper in these times. It doesn’t just help to keep everyone safe but it helps with efficiency.”
As Kim knows, this won’t change overnight. So she has taken a few extra steps to reduce her chances of contracting COVID-19. At her station, she keeps her sanitizer close at hand and walks with her own toiletries for her bathroom breaks. When she gets home, she heads straight to the bathroom and her son or brother would have a towel there waiting for her. The work clothes then go into a laundry hamper to be washed.
Being on the frontline has been extremely stressful for Lewis, as she worries about her children.
“I have a son who is a bad asthmatic, who is now learning to administer his medication, and I have a three-year-old daughter. To help protect them, I was vaccinated. I have to protect my emotional and mental health,” she told TODAY’s Woman.
“At times, I can sense when my stress levels are increasing, so I pray, and that helps.”
She acknowledged that not everyone has a strong faith in God, and those individuals would have their own way of coping throughout the pandemic. But along with prayer, she said she only sources reliable news so as to not be consumed by “wild talk”.
To other frontline workers, she says: “This period will pass; do what you can to protect yourself and your loved ones.”
Kim advised Barbadians to leave home only when necessary: “If you don’t need to leave home, don’t. Take this time to get to know your family now that they’re home with you since sometimes you can be living with someone and you don’t even know what is going on in their lives. Just take advantage of the time you have now and take things day by day.”
This article appears in the 2021 edition of TODAY’s Woman. Read the full publication here.