Friday, July 3, 2020


Today, I went grocery shopping, which is now prompting a blog that I didn’t expect to write.

However, this is NOT what you think.  This is all about the BIGGER PICTURE of LIFE and what we are all called to do, when we witness something in our daily life.

As I swiftly tackled my list wearing my face mask, I saw several employees looking weary as if they were ready to break down in tears.  They looked exhausted.  I could see their humans ready to collapse as their souls seemed to cry out for help, and somehow have been just too busy doing the vital work in front of them like all front-line workers, to pay mind to their own well-being.

Normally when I make my trek, I greet and say hello to every employee and thank them for the work they are doing, and today was no different.  However, today – I noticed the response in return carried a different vibration.

Yes, I am aware we have a lunar eclipse, several planets in retrograde and everyone is doing their best and are dog-tired needing respite – but this was much more.  I have spent far too much time understanding the difference and was not about to blow off what I witnessed as a planetary shift being totally responsible.

When I got to self-check-out, one employee was there to help when the computer got glitch (as I said, yes, we know how electronics are affected).   She kept getting ‘error’ on the screen over and over and began cursing at the machine.  

Finally, she broke down in tears and said “Some days I wish that I would get the coronavirus and die because then it would mean I wouldn’t have to put up with this crap – and if I did, it wouldn’t matter anyway because I’m not appreciated…”

WHOA.  Okay.  

So since Covid-19 does not permit me to do my normal thing – as my human nature is to want to hug this person to tell them they matter and I see them, I had to look at the bigger picture.   

Today, I had to just use my words at a distance and communicate this through my eyes.  As I expressed my gratitude for them in doing the hard work they do and how much they are appreciated, I started crying – as a piece of my soul could see exactly where they were in this moment as I reflected back to my old career of 18 hour days on my feet going non-stop without a chance to eat, hydrate, breathe, much less reapply sunscreen to where I ultimately got skin cancer.

The employee looked back at me as tears started streaming faster as I motioned to them a ‘virtual’ hug and let them know that I see them and all they do makes such a difference every day.  I shared how I see how hard they’ve always been working day-in-and day-out regularly even pre-Covid….but now, the superhero efforts are magnified.  I was sure to tell them that since they have the day off tomorrow, to honor themselves, relax, rest and remember they are important and the work they do matters… and that I for one was very thankful.  

After I continued to spew love – I was thanked and wished a nice holiday weekend. 

On my way out I had to make another stop at another store as some items I wanted were not even available… with empty shelves.

The vibration at this store (under a different corporate umbrella) – was 180 degrees different.  Every employee was thriving, jovial, moving fast like lightning, vibrant and energetic.   

Here, when I showed up as I do, lots of virtual air-high-fives ensued and aisle dancing to the 70s disco playing.   When I checked out, the employee was as upbeat as I described above – but this one was crying, too.   

I asked her if she was okay.  She said “You know, we have the best manager in the world and because we wipe our shelves every hour and hand wipe every cart top to bottom, our manager just gave us the greatest appreciation talk as if we were the most important people in the world…. I so wish I could hug him.” 

WHOA…… Okay.   

So after I spewed love and appreciation and reinforcing validation “Your manager is great he is because you all work so hard and are the pillars to what he manages.  You all do awesome work and it shows.  I appreciate all you are doing to keep us all safe and I feel so blessed to be here – I feel like you are a family I return to each time I shop.” 

She then started crying more tears, but obviously – just a continuation from management’s talk.

So…. After I get home, wash my hands and do my ritual of unloading groceries – I just had to say a prayer for both stores and their people.  

Then I got busy – in I called Corporate Offices of both places, starting with the first one that was like some emergency call for help.

THIS IS MOST IMPORTANT --- When I called, I did NOT want to put anyone in harm’s way… so I had to state it as my observation as a caring customer who is deeply concerned as a frequent shopper and not call out any individual by name, just state the problem, the facts, the potential solution and bring about a report of awareness for their own responsibility, liability and ultimate care. 

I explained how at the first store – it was as if these employees were invisible to the manager.  The manager needs to see the mental and emotional health is suffering in their store for me, as a customer to see all I saw with their weary humans and souls today.   I also shared how each employee needs some serious TLC time off and also they need to feel valued as their self-motivation and well-being is compromised with each day they work.  This could be very serious if employees are so down-and-out that their immunity becomes compromised just from the fact they feel as if their purpose isn’t valued.

The corporate headquarters was thankful for my call – and said they probably could try to plan for additional personal days for their workers.  I did not want to call the individual store’s manager directly because if an employee answered the phone and I had to ask to speak to said manager, I didn’t want the innocent employee who transferred the call to look as if they put me up to talking with their manager.  I wanted all of the employees to BE SAFE from this scrutiny, and have it come from the top hierarchy to oversee the manager of said store branch.

The second competitor store with the jovial employees… I made a call to that one, too – to give praise to the entire operation – manager, and employee team.  I felt a responsibility to reinforce and support these hard workers for their efforts and all they are doing.

Soooooo Lovely Souls, I wanted to share this with you today to remind all of you to PAY ATTENTION when you get your essentials.  If you can do the same type of act for either scenario that I experienced today for places you shop – imagine what kind of good deeds we can continue to do to support these people.   

It is important.  Everyone’s hard work matters.  

A note to all managers – Please stay alert to your employee’s well-being.  The vast contrast between the two experiences I had today should be a template of sorts for you to observe. 

If you want to have healthy, happy and vibrant teams who know you appreciate them – it is up to you to set the standard.

For managers who see their teams lagging – it’s important that even if you yourself are feeling weary, you take care of yourself so you can take care of your team and refortify them mentally and emotionally at every step of what is ahead.  

We’ve all been through quite a bit during these challenging times – but it is here in the awareness zone that you have an opportunity to lift your team UP and appreciate them.

For those of you who are struggling/suffering – please do not hesitate to ask for help.  You deserve a healthy, non-toxic, cohesive, harmonious work environment and your well-being is vital and your human right!

I know for many, that this has been a tough road… but this is where we all need to work together to lift up, course-correct, bring about awareness to situations and shine a spotlight on those who are doing it right and speaking up when we see something is wrong.

Whatever my efforts in making phone calls to corporate and having talks with the employees myself were able to do – I was happy to do it and hope my actions bring about something positive for change.

ALL OF YOU can do the same thing.   

Now before any of you say “Well, it’s not my job to do this, that’s management’s job…”   ---- This is where I will say IT IS ALL OF OUR RESPONSIBILITY to SAY SOMETHING and DO SOMETHING if we can.

While all of you continue to practice self-care, self-love and continue onward through our new landscape --- let’s all make the extra effort to do what we can with where we are with what we have for making the difference wherever we can. 

Wishing you all a safe, and healthy day every day….as you all LINK TO A BIGGER LIFE PICTURE.

Blessings, love, peace and light.


Stacey Kumagai