Frontline Fortitude: The Essential Workers of North Atlanta


Tabitha Randklev

My Pandemic Pleasure: During a time when most workers in Atlanta are ensconced safe in their lockdown existences, senior Kevin Lockhart tirelessly works long hours at a drive-through window for Chick-fil-a. He is one of many North Atlanta students working frontline jobs during the COVID 19-related quarantine.

These past few weeks have been difficult to say the least. While most North Atlanta students are spending their days alternating between Netflix, Zoom meetings, and sleep, there are some brave Warriors who are still working in order to help others through this strange time. Known currently as “essential workers,” these North Atlanta students are bracing for the storm and keeping the people of Buckhead healthy and safe.

It’s well known that Chick-fil-a is quite the hot spot in terms of part time jobs for teens and while their indoor eating areas are currently closed, some North Atlanta students are working diligently to bring people their food through the drive-thru. Senior Kevin Lockhart and junior Foard Martin both work at a Chick-fil-a in Buckhead and have worked more hours than usual now that school is virtual. “I normally work 20 hours a week, but this past week, some managers took time off so I worked 60 hours,” said Martin.

Adding to the list of fast food restaurants staying open, the Starbucks employees of North Atlanta have also dealt with workplace changes as a result of the pandemic. Junior Kyle Lowe works part time at Starbucks and said while work has pretty much remained the same as usual, he has questioned the coffee chain’s choice to keep the drive-thru going. “I honestly don’t really consider making coffee to be essential,” said Lowe. “I think it’s something people can either make at home or just live without it for a few months.”

Publix is arguably one of the busiest stores in Atlanta right now, but junior Shailyn Negron and her coworkers are taking on the overwhelming number of customers in stride. Working at Publix has been very different lately according to Negron, as now her duties include wiping down and sanitizing every surface customers touch. The store has also shortened their hours, set distance markers on the floors, and placed plastic barriers in front of cash registers. “The grocery store is the last place you want to be right now,” said Negron. “There are a lot of people and it’s not always possible to stay six feet apart. People will come in just because they want to leave the house.” 

It’s important to remember during these times that the only occasions you should leave the house are for necessary reasons like getting food, exercising, and going to an essential job. Stay safe, Warriors, and thank these essential workers for all that they do.