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Life on the Grocery Line a Powerful Call for Unity and Compassion
By: Ascot Media Group
Kaat dealt with the uncertainty of the pandemic, the paranoia, and the angry customers and empty shelves by blogging about his experiences. His blog resonated. Soon, he had amassed 15,000 followers and built a community among those who shared his profoundly human — and humane — perspectives.
"It (the pandemic) taught me that we really need each other — even strangers — more than we think," Kaat said in a recent interview. "I felt like I went from a cashier to a therapist overnight. People were spilling their hearts out to me."
Kaat drew upon his blog, as well as stories shared with him in his online community, to build the narrative for his new book, Life on the Grocery Line: A Frontline Experience in a Global Pandemic. This riveting, firsthand account is told through the eyes of a character named Daniel, who watches from the frontlines as the frenzied panic caused by COVID surges like a tidal wave across his home state of Colorado. Now, he's suddenly being called a hero just for showing up at his job, and he isn't sure how to feel about that.
Daniel sees fear in the eyes of some customers and hostility in others, as he does his best to hold his head high and just keep making it from one shift to the next. And along the way, he learns more than he ever expected to about humanity's response to fear, observing most prominently the way in which some people look down on the very workers they deem "essential."
At its core, Life on the Grocery Line is about a test of the human spirit — a 21st century manifestation of Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and The Sea.
Author Adam Jonathan Kaat worked in a grocery store as a cashier and then as a prepared foods supervisor from January 2020 until May 2021. After college, he bounced around through the corporate world until leaving it all behind in the Fall of 2019 to write his first novel. By January 2020, he had taken a job as a cashier to earn money while preserving mental energy for his creative pursuits. He got much more than he bargained for when COVID hit. He began to blog about his experiences as a frontline worker, and 15,000 Facebook followers later, Life on the Grocery Line was born.