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Coronavirus lockdown: NHS worker’s viral post reminds us to think before we judge people we see outside

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
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Jameela Jamil on the NHS

“Why didn’t you just approach me and ask me what I was doing? Maybe then you would understand why I am getting up every day to work for the NHS.” 

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, many people in the UK have spent the past few weeks in lockdown mode. Which means that, in order to slow the spread of Covid-19 (and relieve some of the mounting pressure on the NHS), we are now only allowed out of your house for the following reasons:

  • One form of exercise a day, such as walking, running or cycling – alone or with household members
  • To provide care for a vulnerable person or to obtain medical care for themselves
  • Travelling to and from work, if it is strictly necessary
  • Shopping for necessities, as infrequently as possible

And, while lockdown was due to be reviewed on 13 April, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab recently told the country “we are not done yet” as he confirmed that the coronavirus lockdown is set to continue for at least another week.

We get it. And we get that some people, stuck indoors and desperately wishing they could spend some time outdoors in this unprecedented sunshine, are feeling a little angry at all those they see as “flouting the rules” (we’ve all read those reports of police being forced to break up parties and move sunbathers along, haven’t we?).

However, as one viral Facebook post has made abundantly clear, we shouldn’t be so quick to cast judgement on others.

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A photo, shared on the Spotted Leicester page, has a handwritten note which someone found pinned to their car’s windshield.

The note, which has been addressed “to the selfish person”, reads: “I have been watching you travel every day in your car. You are not in uniform, so this is clearly unessential travel.

“You are part of the problem!”

It finishes by echoing the government’s coronavirus slogan, saying: “Stay at home and protect our country and NHS. You have been reported.”

As the photo’s accompanying caption has made all too clear, though, the person who wrote this note lashed out without finding out the full story.

“I don’t usually post much personal stuff on social media but I’m hoping that sharing this on here will reach the idiot that left me this note on my car,” the caption reads.

“I WORK FOR THE NHS! I go to work every day SUPPORTING our country and have done for many years… why didn’t you just approach me and ask me what I was doing? Maybe then you would understand why I am getting up EVERY DAY to work for the NHS!”

It continues: “Why on earth would I wear my uniform to and from work at this current time? Equally, not all NHS staff have to wear a uniform.”

The caption ends on this damning line: “If this has reached you, hopefully now you feel like a complete FOOL and that you should think twice before sticking your nose into other people’s business!”

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The post has been shared well over 300 times and counting. And, as many in the comments have pointed out, the post’s author is correct: many NHS staff have been asked not to wear their uniforms to and from their places of work in order to curb the spread of infection.

Others have pointed out that there are others – supermarket employees, teachers looking after the children of key workers, delivery drivers, maintenance workers, public transport staff, shopkeepers, builders, plumbers, electricians, gardeners, NHS 111 call handlers, care workers, and so many more – who are still going out to work during the coronavirus pandemic. Who don’t necessarily wear uniforms to and from work. Who still have to get in their cars and drive in order to get to where they need to go.

Who are working tirelessly to keep this country running and all of us safe, during this tumultuous period.

It’s also worth remembering, as Emily Maitlis pointed out in her now-viral takedown of the government’s coronavirus strategy, that it is a privilege to be able to stay protected. And, while it’s all too easy to shame those who have left their homes to visit local parks and outdoor spaces, it’s important to remember that there’s often more to it than just a need to sunbathe.

“Those who live in tower blocks and small flats will find the lockdown tougher,” she said. “Those in manual jobs will be unable to work from home.

“This is a health issue with huge ramifications for social welfare, and it’s a welfare issue with huge ramifications for public health.”

With all this in mind, think before you lash out. Try to source all the facts before you make any snap decisions. And try to be kind, always. Because, right now, we need empathy and understanding more than ever.

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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