I’m 63. I’m a lifetime asthmatic. I’d watch customers pull into the parking lot without their faces covered, and my whole body would start to tense up. Our store is on the Intracoastal Waterway, and people from all over the world dock in the harbor and come in here for supplies. It’s a big petri dish. I put a shield up over my register, and a few hours into my shift it was covered with spittle. We’d have 20 or 30 people walk by the sign and come in without a mask. I’d try to get their attention and point to the sign. It was a lot of: “You’re infringing on my rights. This is a free country, and I’m here to shop, so who’s going to stop me?”

Then the local sheriff went on Facebook and said he wasn’t going to enforce the state requirement because he didn’t want to be the “mask police.” So now what? I have customers who are breaking the law and putting my life at risk, and what am I supposed to do? I’m a freaking retail clerk. I ring up beer and boat supplies for 10 bucks an hour. I don’t want to deal with this. If I didn’t need the money, I’d be home working in my garden or visiting my grandkids. I don’t come into the store every morning looking to make some big moral stand, but when I see something that’s wrong, I can’t let it slide. I cannot shut up. I get stuck on things. That’s my biggest downfall or my biggest asset. So, fine. I’ll be your mask police. What choice do I have? I talked to my co-worker, and we decided to hang another sign on the wall.