My mom is probably one of the hardest working people I know. While I was in the womb, she worked her butt off as a Cabinet Maker until weeks before my birth. In my early childhood she took care of me as well as running a small babysitting operation for other kids. We played, learned, and adventured constantly - I don't think I even realized TV existed until I was older. When I was old enough to start school, my mom went right back to work. She took to Warehouse Management positions in a few companies across 2 decades, really bringing an incredible level of accountability, ingenuity, and adaptability to her work. At company picnics, work visits, and social gatherings with her coworkers and managers, they would rave about her quality of character and ability to perform beyond expectations. It would never take her long for her to make it to the top ranks in her position, and without doubt become a role model to her fellow workers.
None of this is because my mom dreams of corporate offices or company cars or ridiculous paychecks. My mom's killer work ethic comes from her passion about life. To work, for her, is to be something more. Not just in completing your duties, but in connecting with your fellow workers - in understanding the fundamental humanity of "work" and to share in the lives of those around you.
If nothing else could be said of my mom, it would be that she did a damn fine job at everything that was ever asked of her and made it easier for those around her to do what was asked of them.
She is my mom, a nurturing and loving figure who gave me everything a mother can - but also instilled in me an absolute commitment to "being something more" by the sweat of my own brow.
All that I have shared would be just a nice sentiment if my letter were to end here, but it doesn't. My mom, this wonderful woman I have outlined above, took employment at a Walmart store outside of Springfield, MO not long ago. She quickly made impressions on those she worked with and in no time was taking on more tasks and hours and duties. This held steady for a while, with my mom reporting on the friends she had made in other coworkers and stories of the store itself.
Then, suddenly, I received a call from my mother a few weeks ago. She explained that she was experiencing Macular Degeneration, a loss of vision in the center of one of her eyes. I spoke to her with care and listened to her as she explained that she could basically carry on as usual except for some impairment in her night driving. We hung up and I cried. I cried because I felt like something very unfair was happening to someone who deserved so much more. I carried on with my life a few thousand miles away and kept her in my thoughts, knowing that although this situation was not fair, if anyone could overcome it, it was her.
"Unfair" is a funny word to use. I guess what happened to her medically isn't "fair" or "unfair", really, that's just science. It happens. However, the true definition of "unfair" has become illuminated for me, not only an hour ago. My mom had called, much as she did weeks ago. Only this time it was to let me know that her managers had cut her schedule down to 4 hours for the next week. She also spoke with a coworker who believed that if they cut her hours down that much for 3 consecutive weeks, her health benefits would deactivate. This all followed a run in with a manager who, upon my mom making a simple mistake with a label, told her to "use her good eye." My mom's assumption, as indicated by run-ins she has had the past few weeks, was that this was all related to her eye issue.
This colored in the word "Unfair" for me pretty well. A company, who my mom has devoted nothing but her best to, now no longer wants her, like she's some sort of disposable commodity. Or worse, they want to make her feel worthless. Luckily, being an amazing lady includes a sense of self-worth and my mom hasn't let the situation your managers have created affect her sense of self. That said, what is happen is still wrong. No matter which way you flip it, my mom is being wronged here.
Walmart, I really just have one question. What does my mom do now? She gave you her effort, her time, and took care of you in doing her part. But now that she has a completely and totally maintainable medical condition, you want her to just be tossed out? She may not have great vision, but even she can see that you are the one who needs to act here. People have given you their lives, their money, their passion, you owe them what is fair. Be the solution.
With the best intentions.
Son of Peggy Kirchoff, an incredible woman