That’s how you can tell a smile from underneath the folds of a COVID-19 mask.
You saw it the other day.
After some thought, you decided to venture out of your quarantine quarters for that medical appointment you knew you shouldn’t miss, pardon the pandemic.
The person at the counter steered you through, even as your glasses were fogging from your own mask.
Voices are encouraging.
You can tell, even if the one you heard this morning was emanating from the somewhat tinny speakers of a laptop computer.
Said voice belonged to your kid’s teacher.
And your kid’s teacher was being just that — never mind the distance-damnations and technology trip-ups of holding class in these bacterial days.
As a society, Ace Parsi says, we’re well-used to institutional politeness.
There’s always the scripted “sir” and “ma’am,” punctuated by a smile.
Because it’s institutional, we take it for granted.
And because we take it for granted, we oftentimes make it thankless and grinding for the people drawing their paychecks in such endeavors.
That’s why Parsi got together with some kindred spirits last year to come up with Mon County Compassion at Work.
The idea, he said, was to recognize and celebrate the people in service professions who always go three gears above the job description.
Especially, he said, with COVID-19 asking to speak to a manager.
The organization made its debut last fall.
Nominees were tapped and an awards ceremony was held after Thanksgiving, a day sanctioned for the counting of blessings.
Parsi said we’re all especially blessed by the essential employees in these times of medical uncertainty.
Maybe it’s that worker at the clinic or hospital, he said, or that teacher, or that volunteer, even, packing breakfast and lunch for the feeding program.
Thus, the 2020 Pandemic Edition of Mon County Compassion at Work.
The organization is partnering with The Dominion Post so the light can shine on people doing good work in the care of others during this time.
In other words, Parsi said, making a big deal about the people — who don’t make a big deal about what they do.
You may nominate someone every Monday by visiting Mon County Compassion at Work on Facebook, he said.
Or, email MonCountyCompassionAtWork@gmail.com anytime, he said.
Just remember to include the person’s name and a note for the nomination on either format, he said.
“It’s about empathy,” Parsi said.
“We live in a good community, and communities are the sum of our individual actions.”