Kent Sanford | Grocery Store Worker, Whole Foods
When we think of everyday heroes the obvious jobs come to mind first—doctors, firefighters, teachers, the military, etc. But when the coronavirus brought the country to a standstill, a new group of unexpected heroes were there to get us through—grocery store workers. “I was humbled by that title,” recalls Kent Sanford, a worker at the Whole Foods location in North Buckhead.
However, no hero is without their challenges. Working at a grocery store is already a difficult and demanding job, and the pandemic hasn’t made it easier. “I’ve witnessed stressed out, very anxious customers grabbing whatever food they could get their hands on,” Kent says. But as the initial buying panic faded and society adjusted to the ‘new normal’, Kent says she has witnessed a positive shift in the attitudes of customers towards her and her coworkers. “Customers have a little bit more patience, especially when we are unloading our u-boats in the grocery aisles. [They] are more understanding if a certain brand is out of stock.”
She has also experienced some of the brighter parts of the pandemic. “An older customer came in and she mentioned to me about shopping for her adult daughter and teenage grandson who had health issues and couldn’t go out in public due to the virus,” Kent recalls. After helping the woman pick out her essentials and escorting her to the checkout line, the customer realized she had misplaced her wallet. “She insisted she leave the cart overflowing with $500+ worth of products and go find her wallet. At that moment in time, I told the cashier that I would pay for her groceries and that she taught me so much about life in that short amount of time with her. We both started to cry!”
Despite the positivity from customers the work hasn’t been easy for Kent. The long hours leave her sore all the time and she hasn’t been able to spend much time with her three kids and help them with their schoolwork. But she has found strength to move forward in a quote from one of her personal Wonder Women, Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Kent says the first chance she can she will either get a massage or take a long vacation away from people. Why not both?