Frontline worker profiles: Supermarket staff ‘blessed to serve’

Shanay Bryan fills multiple roles at Foster's.

Working her way up the ladder in Foster’s supermarket, Shanay Bryan tried just about every job in the store.

She has stacked shelves, worked the tills, and helped design the adverts.

Now she is doing a little of all of those things, as well as playing a role on the team that is designing a new home-delivery service.

It is all hands on deck at Cayman’s largest supermarket chain and she is proud to contribute in any way she can.

Until now, she had never stopped to think about the importance of the role that she and her colleagues play in the community.

“I don’t think I ever thought of myself as actually essential,” she said.

“I feel blessed to serve the community.”

She believes many jobs that people might have considered ‘beneath them’ are getting more respect now.

“A situation like this arises and you just have to think – we are all essential, we all have a role to play in this great big world.

“We are all important, not just the person on the top of the food chain. It is the little links in the chain that keep things working.”

The early days of the virus, when panic buying was at its peak and no one really knew what they were dealing with, were the most chaotic at the store.

“Customers just panicked,” she said. “It was like a tornado, they felt they had to bunker down.”

Things have calmed since then. Masks and social distancing are the norm and the limitations on days when people can shop has made life easier for the staff.

If shoppers stop to talk to each other in the aisles, it is from the other end of a disinfected shopping cart. Bryan says she is not concerned about her own health. She shares a home with her mother, who has diabetes, and her real fear is that she could carry the virus and pass it on to her.

There’s a nightly washing-and-cleaning routine, including spraying her clothes and her bag with Lysol, before she interacts with her mum.

“She handles it well,” she said.

“She is more masked up than me – she is not taking any chances.”

Despite her front-line role and the risks she and her colleagues take, working every day in Cayman’s most-crowded places, Bryan feels lucky.

“Some people are not fortunate enough to be working,” she said.

“I have friends who are not taking it as well as I am, because nothing has stopped in that sense for me – I am still working.”

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