By Jef Rietsma
From newfound gratitude toward healthcare workers to heartfelt thanks for essential workers everywhere, the coronavirus has sparked its share of positives.
In the small community of Fulton, Janet Mendocha has an uplifting anecdote of her own to share.
“People are going out of their way to come in and patronize our business,” said Mendocha, owner of the Fulton Little Store. “Rather than going to Vicksburg or into Meijer, they’ll come here instead and people have told me they appreciate having us here, they want to see us succeed. You can’t imagine how good that makes us feel to have that support!”
Mendocha said she knows a lot of people taking advantage of their downtime and tackling odd jobs around the house. Between caring for her cancer-stricken husband and running the kitchen area in the store, Mendocha said she doesn’t have that same luxury of time.
Staying safe and not wanting to bring home potentially harmful germs, Mendocha said the kitchen has been a good, isolated place for her to work when she’s on duty. Meanwhile, she said it’s been impressive to see most customers respecting the six-foot buffer between each other, and everyone respecting the health and wellness of others.
That’s a peculiar habit customers are developing. It could very well be a result of the fear of contamination, though Mendocha optimistically prefers to think it’s a gesture of goodwill.
“More people than I’ve ever seen are telling us to just keep the change, they don’t want it back,” she said. “So, we just keep it all there on the counter and if someone comes in and they’re short a little bit, no problem, we’ve got them covered. That’s what I love about being in a small town.”
Mendocha said one thing troubling her is the disregard protesters are showing for the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order. She said the disobedience undermines the work being done by healthcare professionals and potentially puts their family members at risk.
Mendocha, who said Fulton Little Store has four employees, added that her 17-year-old son was crushed when Vicksburg High School had to postpone or cancel its spring performance, “Holiday Inn.”
“He had been rehearsing jump rope and tap dancing, and he still rehearses, hoping they’ll put on the production when school resumes,” she said. “He loves school anyhow and he has been absolutely devastated through all this.”