Archie Anglin works 12-hour days as a bus driver in Columbus, OH. With the coronavirus everything has changed for him. He wears a mask covering his usual smile, he greets people on his new mission — he’s doing all he can to protect his passengers. He takes people worried about getting the virus to the hospital and offers his support, takes essential workers to their jobs, and takes many to the grocery. He does not express concern about his own safety, but about the safety of his passengers.
One of his passengers comments, “A smile can go a long way. Without people like Archie, this city would shut down.” He is one of the “unsung heroes.”
Yolanda Fishe, a 48-year-old cafeteria worker at T.W. Brown Middle School in Dallas, TX, is another hero that does not make the news. She says, “I’m still going to work because we’re still feeding kids that attend my school as well as any child in Dallas that needs a meal. I’m loving it because I miss the kids’ faces. We are feeding our community and I love that. I am nervous about getting the virus because I have two grandchildren at home. My daughter wants me to stay home, but I say no. Jesus was a worker. That’s my purpose.”
We see “frontline heroes” on the news every day—doctors, nurses, EMT workers, firefighters. However, many behind the scene frontline workers like Archie and Yolinda are also putting their lives on the line.
They deserve financial protection and health care protection. Millions of workers have lost their jobs and experience long waits for unemployment checks, and frequent long food lines for the first time in their lives. Who is protecting them?
We need frontline heroes in the Senate, the House and in the Oval Office. Much attention has been paid to rescuing the airline industry and big business. We need the same energy supporting bus drivers, grocery workers, and farmers.
We as citizens are called to be heroes as advocates, calling on our leaders to make just decisions on behalf of those without a microphone. We need action, not more photo ops.