“As a human, we’re losing other humans, and that takes a toll on you, whether you know the person deeply or not. You try to be careful not to catch anything… It’s a lot. It’s overwhelming. I’m trying to manage.”
The words above come from AJ. She’s an environmental care supervisor in charge of disinfecting and cleaning Johns Hopkins Hospital, in Baltimore.
Photo courtesy of AJ
AJ is 1 of more than 18,000,000 healthcare workers in the United States, many of whom are laboring on the frontlines fighting against COVID-19. As the world grapples with a global pandemic, everyone’s feeling the strain. But perhaps none more so than them.
When we announced our Everyday Heroes program in early April, we knew it was an opportunity to step up during COVID-19 to provide free rides for healthcare workers in need of safe and reliable transportation. What we didn’t know is exactly who we were stepping up for and how powerful their stories would be. Over the past month, we’ve been interviewing members of the program to find out who they are — not just as Spin riders but as people. Their stories are special, and we’re excited to share a few with you here.
Beau is a home health nurse. In his free time, he is an avid traveler. Had it not been for the pandemic, he had trips planned for Barcelona and London this summer.
An average day sees him zipping around, seeing about ten people per shift. Part of his job is making sure his clients don’t unnecessarily admit themselves into the ER, given the strain COVID-19 is putting on the healthcare system.
Image courtesy of Beau
There’s increased stress because some of his visits are with individuals recovering from the virus, so the risk of contraction is always “top of mind,” he says. “Anytime I cough or anytime I have a little pain in my chest area, I’m like ‘Oh, wait, do I have coronavirus?’”
“It’s important to be able to get around quickly,” he said. “If I have a patient who is like, ‘Oh, we’re thinking about calling 911’ — being able to get to the patient fast is vital.”
Kenneth is a pediatric nurse. After graduating with a degree in psychology, he stumbled upon a career in nursing, which he says “played to his strengths,” specifically being able to maintain a positive outlook in the face of difficulties. And he loves what he does.
“I’m dealing with families at the most challenging moments of their lives,” he explains. “But for the lowest of the lows, there are these great moments of resilience. It really puts things into perspective.”
Photo courtesy of Kenneth
Because of the increased need for nurses, Kenneth’s facility redeployed him to work with in-patient adults, some affected by COVID-19. He says it’s taken some adjustment to go from his usual 9–5 schedule to working 12-hour shifts, including weekends.
Kenneth also acknowledged that hopping on a Spin scooter at the end of a long day is a welcomed bright spot. “Being exhausted after, you know, 13 hours, and being on my feet all day — the last thing I want to do is walk home. I want to eat, take off my shoes, and sit on the couch. It’s definitely nice to get home quicker.”
Photo courtesy of Kristin
Kristin is a medical scientist. She works in a laboratory that runs COVID-19 tests. Her older sister introduced her to the field, and her end goal is to go to medical school to become a doctor. She says the most satisfying part of her job is providing relevant information when physicians call with questions and requests. Before the pandemic, she enjoyed trying out new restaurants with her friends and going shopping.
Her work situation is very stressful. “Everyone is kind of freaking out,” she explained. “Initially we didn’t have all the instrumentation, so figuring out how to test these patients has been an ordeal.”
Echoing the sentiments of many of the Everyday Heroes we spoke to, Kristin finds a moment of respite when riding a scooter.
“There’s definitely a sense of joy while riding the scooter itself,” she said. “It’s just fun. I think anyone riding a scooter would have fun. I look forward to it. If I see a scooter in the morning, I’ll definitely take it. And then after work, I’m even more excited because that’s when I’m exhausted, so yeah, it’s definitely fun for me.”
When you turn on the news or scroll through the headlines, you’re likely to see pictures of doctors, nurses, and medical technicians wearing baggy blue scrubs and head coverings, with their faces hidden behind N95 masks and PPE shields. AJ, Beau, Kenneth, and Kristin are four of the people behind the protective gear. They’re risking their lives every day, and we want them — along with all healthcare workers worldwide — to know that we see them and appreciate them. And we’re grateful to do our small part to make their days a tiny bit brighter.