Washington Square Mall was empty! My story as a Beaverton delivery driver

Washington Square Mall was empty! My story as a Beaverton delivery driver

The massive parking lot was deserted. Washington Square mall, normally bustling, was empty, and my footsteps echoed eerily as I walked toward Din Tai Fung. It was late March of 2020, one week after COVID-19 shut down the state of Oregon, and I was masked, gloved, and on my way to pick up a food delivery order.

The first few weeks of the pandemic were difficult and strange. I was no longer allowed to interact with my customers at drop-off. Many of the local restaurants I frequent had to lay off staff temporarily, and there were no patrons. Everyone was quarantined at home except for essential workers, and we were all scared.

As the weeks waned into months, I got to know the managers and owners of the Beaverton restaurants, and thanked them personally for their hard work and dedication. Driving twenty miles per hour on side streets plummeted to fifteen or less as so many families were out walking, playing basketball, and gardening in the spring sunshine. Eyes crinkled up into hidden smiles behind masks as doors were held open for me and fellow citizens participated in a social distancing dance. I witnessed a profound sense of community spring up as we all grappled to deal with the “new normal”.

One year later, as the vaccinations ramp up and we long for a return to our previous lives, I am grateful. For adaptability, creativity, flexibility, and patience. I’ve seen all of these characteristics in the essential workers that keep our grocery stores and restaurants open, in my fellow delivery drivers, in my customers through their kind texts, and finally, in myself.

So, the next time you get a hankering for food you haven’t prepared, order from a local restaurant, and generously tip your delivery driver.

Amy Louis is a delivery driver and a Washington native who loves her adopted state of Oregon. She has a Bachelor’s in English Literature, and enjoys swimming, photography, and listening to audiobooks on the road. If you would like writing or editing services, please contact her at slimdownwa@yahoo.com