2020-03-12I am sharing a video I took at the beginning of the quarantine period. People were panic buying food and other necessities while leaving empty shelves for others. I remember entering whole foods to pick up some bread, pasta, beans, and non-dairy milk because I can't have dairy. As soon as my cousin and I entered Whole Foods— the baked goods were fully stocked but the non-perishable foods were almost gone. I remember turning to my cousin in shock because the fresh fruits and vegetables in the lower level were fully stocked. I asked an employee where the bread and non-dairy milk was and they said, "I don't think we have any more bread. I stocked it a couple of hours ago and when I went back o check there were a few bags left". The employee guided us to the bread section and it was indeed empty. I thanked them and decided to look through the other aisles and the aisle that was the most apparent was the one I recorded. There were people with professional cameras taking pictures of this aisle and others (such as myself) with our phones recording. So many people were just as taken aback by the lack of food in many of these aisles. I already knew that this virus was serious but when I saw the number of people buying food and toilet paper and paper towels in bulk, I felt worried and nervous. I knew from the media that people were stocking up on non-perishable foods and that supermarket lines were really long. But seeing it first hand and seeing people coming to the aisle expecting to see a can of beans available or a bag of bread, only for it to be empty. This is a moment that I won't forget and the overwhelming feeling that this virus could affect anyone.
2020-03-14March 14. That was the date everything became real. COVID-19 had personally reached my life. My restaurant, my livelihood was gone and I found myself scared for my safety, my well being and I wondered how I was going to survive this pandemic with no income. My family and loved ones were in Los Angeles, CA, my birthplace. They all encouraged me to "come home" but I vowed to stay in New York, the place I had been calling home for the previous three years. Once I received the email from the general manager of my restaurant, I felt as if my world had shattered and I realized New York City was going on lockdown. As one of the most eccentric places to live, we have been hit the hardest by this virus, arguably more than anyone in the world. Six months later, with 200,000 American lives lost and counting we are still in the midst of this global pandemic. There have been moments of fear, unification, division, perseverance, and love among other things. Looking forward, I hope there is a means to this end and as we arrive there we treat each other with the love and respect that we each deserve.