At the window of the food truck I work in, I have to ask customers to wear masks about every 10 minutes for seven hours straight, despite our sign saying that they are required. Often, if they wear one, they do so improperly, such as below their nose or so loose that the mask is ineffective. Sometimes, for lack of mask, they try and grab a napkin or pull their shirt up halfheartedly, often dropping it once they are paying at a two-foot distance from my face. Regularly, I get eyerolls and sometimes attitude for my request—which is actually a policy and currently a county mandate.

I’m really exhausted from this. My job is to kindly take a food order and work the register. I’m not paid to babysit, coddle or repeatedly ask to be respected during a pandemic. I don’t care what someone’s political views are, I will meet them with respect and friendliness at my job. I wear a mask for eight hours a day. It feels like a small ask that customers wear one for the few minutes it takes to stand in line, order and pick up their food.

Regardless of your beliefs surrounding masks, I would hope your desire to respect the employees at businesses you patronize would outweigh the inconvenience of wearing a mask.

Someone I know has just died from COVID-19. My family in Texas is currently battling COVID-19. My uncle has had a 100 degree fever for days now. This is a real pandemic. Despite the absolute failure of our government to take this seriously, we as individuals have a choice to behave like people are dying and we are spreading the virus that kills them.

Just wear your mask and do so properly. It’s not personal when we ask you to, but when you refuse to do so you are only showing your lack of respect for others, nothing more.

Faith Dickey