A nurse in Singapore has put up a series of tweets relating how she was ostracised for wearing her uniform and taking the lift down from her home to get to work early one morning.
Her story comes on the back of several existing anecdotes online by other nurses, who claimed that they were shunned for being in uniform in public, due to the misconception that they are virus spreaders.
Long story short: In this latest instance, the young woman said she was rushing to catch the 7am bus, when the lift she was in stopped for two more passengers, described as an "uncle & auntie" pair.
"You nurse ah?"
Upon seeing a uniformed person in the lift, the man who entered asked the woman if she is a nurse, while the other woman moved to another side of the lift to maintain a distance.
The man then questioned the nurse rudely, asking why was she taking the lift when she could have taken the stairs, and made a snide remark about her race.
While that line of questioning rattled the nurse, she made it a point to bite her tongue and not react.
In one of her tweets, she even apologised for not retaliating.
More rude remarks
But the man who was in the lift was not done, apparently.
When the lift door opened, he made a rude remark about the nurse's race and apparently said:
"You nurses always walk around with virus on you and always spread to people... So stupid."
At this juncture, the next tweet was written in Malay.
Here is a translation:
Guys. I’m sorry. But I deadass couldn’t let what he said slide. Sorry ah ***** but that’s just nonsense. Just because I’m Malay, just because I’m a nurse. If he were to go to a hospital, I want to see if he is going to depend on Nurses or not. Please ah we are tired. And before y’all ask me what their race was.... yes they were.?
The thread ended with the nurse explaining that her parents are aware about what happened and are feeling indignant as well, but they are of the opinion that she was right not to have reacted in the face of such abuse.
This was so as any retaliation on her part, devoid of the context, would only make her look bad as she was still in uniform.
It would have also resulted in potentially tarnishing her vocation -- given the optics of her berating two senior persons in public, can never be ideal.
Online commenters empathise
Unfortunately, incidents like these are apparently more common as of late, or are getting aired more publicly.
At least one other front line worker replied to the Twitter thread, sharing similar experiences.
But it also appeared as though the unpleasant people the young nurse met in the lift are few and far between, based on the number of responses that empathise with her plight:
"Don't understand why they can't appreciate the sweat and tears you guys put in for the health and safety of others. If they are hospitalised, it is you nurses who have to tend to them. So unappreciative these people."
Here's hoping that more people will stop taking our front line workers for granted, especially at a critical time like this.