By Sam Jacobs
The current health crisis has taken lives, strained relationships, and even challenged our beliefs. In addition, the Coronavirus has taken a toll on our wallets and pocketbooks. Many american bank accounts are struggling to stay alive.
Alexis Reynolds, a former student at Southern Maine Community College, was working at Smitty’s, the movie theater in Windham, when they responded to the national crisis by playing old movies so fewer people would go. Immediately, she saw her hours drop and had to file for unemployment.
“They were showing old movies, because of the movie industry going downhill. With no new movies, there’s really not much to play. A lot of theaters like Flagship and Smitty’s were closed for a while until things started opening up,” she said. “The job didn’t even tell us that we were being let go. They just stopped scheduling us.”
The unexpected change upended her, and she found it heartbreaking to find out. The good news, however, is that after losing her job at the movie theater, she did find a new one, and even bought a house!
Anna DesLauriers, a Communications & New Media Studies student, was working for a daycare provider. She started this past January and said she loved it.
The daycare closed March 18, and they were supposed to open April 27. Their policy was if anyone had a medical reason as to why they couldn’t come back, simply get a doctor’s note because they didn’t need everyone back right away. If people can’t come back, it would be fine. So she got a doctor’s note, and it said she couldn’t come back till June 30. On June 4th she had been in communication with her boss via Facebook Messenger and email, and then later in June she got a letter saying she needed to get a new doctor’s note saying that she was cleared to come back because they needed her.
She talked to her doctor and her doctor refused to give her another doctor’s note because she already wrote a note. She then decided she didn’t want to go back to the daycare anyways because she didn’t feel safe. On June 8th, her boss told her that if she wanted a job there, she would have to reapply because she’s decided to go back to school in the fall and needed a job part time. Her boss read her message and never responded, and when she tried to reapply she never heard anything. “It was heartbreaking. Something I’ve spent a lot of my life doing was working with children, and it just got taken away from me,” Anna said. “There was no explainable reason and it was beyond my control. I’m just pretty devastated. I miss those kids and I’m never going to see them again.” She only worked there for three months but she made connections with each child and thought of them as her own. She didn’t think it was going to be the last time talking to them.
She hadn’t worked with kids since March, but over the summer she got a short term nanny position for July and August to get income after losing the job at the daycare. Anna worked with severely disabled twin boys. They are in wheelchairs, are nonverbal, are legally blind, and have limited motor skills. They also have feeding tubes. They have to use talker tablets to be able to communicate with what they might need or want. She says, “It was the most rewarding job I’ve ever had. They have Lowe’s syndrome, which ultimately destroys every part of your body. The only part of them that wasn’t affected was their hearing. But they were always filled with such joy.”
On the bright side of losing the job at the daycare, she got to do that summer job with those kids, and that was the best job she ever had. Because of the limited time of the summer job, she was later walking through the mall and saw that a store was hiring and ended up applying. She says, “I just started at Torrid but it’s minimum wage, and it is not that fulfilling of a job. I miss the kids.”