May 25, 2024

The Golden Rule, which proclaims to treat others the way one would want to be treated, has experienced a resurgence over the past year all thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

With “panic buying” and people feeling more on edge than usual, kindness and simply acting like a decent human being been observed to be dismissed.

As social tensions rise due to political unrest and the looming global health crisis, videos that document people treating essential workers less than human have surfaced across the internet.

This notion of treating workers of any sort with disrespect has existed pre-pandemic. However, with shifted social norms, interactions between individuals can be magnified.

Why is it important to treat these workers with respect and dignity? Essential workers are human. As the pandemic shifted many aspects of life, one area stayed constant: earning a living wage. 

These workers are subject to many sorts of restrictions imposed by the virus, making it more difficult to provide the service they were expected to pre-pandemic.

There is no telling what the cashier at Target or the barista at Starbucks has going on in their life, pandemic or not. Fostering a safe and welcoming environment is crucial for interacting with strangers because it causes a harmonious exchange between two individuals.

In an article published by Headspace, an English-American company specializing in meditation, anger harbored by an individual can manifest in inappropriate outbursts against individuals. This happens regularly to essential workers because of the unfamiliarity the individual has with the worker. 

“Letting go of the anger in no way denies the existence of suffering, or takes anything away from our ability to help those in need,” the brand advises. “On the contrary, it gives us the freedom to act skillfully to work toward peace and reconciliation.”

Engaging in a peaceful exchange with any worker creates a non-hostile environment. 

This practice lifts the mood of both the worker and the customer which can lead to a positive social change.

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