Kelly, Genesee County

Storyteller: Angela Wolfin

Kelly is a 50-year-old hair stylist and nail technician living in Genesee County, Michigan where she takes care of clients at a busy salon Monday through Friday. On the weekends she values her time with her family including her mother, daughters, adorable grandson, and boyfriend. Kelly first heard about COVID-19 from a client who told her they saw it on the news. She did not worry much about it until Governor Whitmer began shutting everything down and issued the stay-at-home order. When that order went into effect, her life changed dramatically.

In mid-March, the salon was shut down and Kelly was suddenly out of work for an unknown length of time along with her coworkers and thousands of others whose jobs were deemed “non-essential”. When she was able to return to work about 13 weeks later, Kelly began to feel anxious because of her proximity to clients. When doing a client’s nails, she is sitting face to face with them and touching their hands. Kelly felt that she was beginning to over think sanitation procedures and worried about protecting herself, her clients, and most importantly her family. She wondered if she was doing enough and if she was doing it right. Kelly’s mother had major surgery just after the pandemic began and because she was in close contact to others, she was afraid to visit her mom. The last thing she wanted to do is carry the virus to her mother because it would almost certainly kill her.

Since the pandemic has started, Kelly has gained an appreciation and gratitude for the smallest things in life that she feels she took for granted before. The health and safety of her family, running water, food, and shelter. She has gained an appreciation for technology because it has helped her stay in contact with her family. She uses her cellphone to see her daughters and grandson through video chatting applications and that is what helps her get through this most stressful time in her life.

What she would like to share with others is the lesson to not take anything for granted. You never know when your life can change. Do not be selfish and keep others and their families in mind as if they were your own. Please be kind and remember we are all struggling to get through this pandemic.

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