The son of the Penticton Western News editor made this poster which has some pretty poignant words for what we are seeing right now.

COLUMN: Kindness needed but hard to find these days

Retail workers have seen atrocious behaviour hurled at them

Be kind.

A two-word sentence that carries so much power in this world but seems so hard for people to do these days.

In the Okanagan, and around Canada, retail workers have seen atrocious behaviour hurled at them for trying to carry out mask policies mandated by the provincial health officer.

Businesses have paid a price in verbal and sometimes physical abuse for choosing to enforce either their own mask policies or the provincial orders.

The majority of verbal abuse is put on young people making minimum wage.

Think about that for a minute.

For all those who feel masks and vaccines are an attack on your freedoms, please don’t take your anger out on employees who had no part in making those decisions.

Everyone deserves to work in a safe environment but that seems hard to come by these days.

Be kind.

It seems so hard for some to do when all they are thinking about is themselves.

The teenager behind the cash register being yelled at for asking to wear a mask just wants to provide customer service without harassment.

We are living in very difficult times in a historic pandemic. Stress is at an all-time high.

People are suffering. Businesses are suffering.

Don’t take your anger out on any employees. No one is forcing you to visit these establishments.

Every private business has the right to refuse your business.

As the vaccine passports roll out and private businesses will be required to ask for proof of vaccination, remember to be kind. The host at the restaurant or at the ticket booth at sporting or entertainment events didn’t make these rules but has been tasked with enforcing them.

For those who are kind – who go out of their way to treat customer service staff well – now is the time to double down on your efforts. A kind word, a smile and plain old Canadian politeness of our please and thank you’s is what is needed now more than ever.

Monique Tamminga is a reporter with the Penticton Western News

Agassiz-Harrison Observer