Hometown Heroes: Megan Goodwin has been positive in a place where people really need it

  • Megan Goodwin at the counter of South Main Street Cafe. ALLIE ST PETER—Monitor Staff

  • Megan Goodwin preparing food at South Main Street Cafe. ALLIE ST PETER—Monitor Staff

  • Megan Goodwin, like most food service workers, says it was an adjustment working through the day with a mask on. ALLIE ST PETER / Monitor Staff

  • Megan Goodwin stand with her decorations at South Main Street Cafe. ALLIE ST PETER—Monitor Staff

Monitor staff
Published: 12/17/2020 8:52:42 AM
Modified: 12/17/2020 8:52:32 AM

Throughout the added pressure of serving frontline workers and watching colleagues be furloughed, Megan Goodwin has always kept a positive attitude.

Goodwin, a staff member at the Concord Hospital Cafe, was nominated for the Hometown Hero award this year for her role in handling pandemic difficulties with a smile and bringing joy to medical staff in her building.

The COVID-19 pandemic over the past year has affected everyone, but it’s been particularly challenging inside hospitals and for those who work in the food services industry. Goodwin has seen the effects of the pandemic from both perspectives.

Many employees who worked in the same building as Goodwin were sent to work from home, and with fewer people buying food from the cafe, some cafe workers were furloughed. Goodwin was transferred to different locations several times.

“A lot of people got furloughed during that time and I was very grateful that when they closed my location they kept me,” Goodwin said.

Despite changes, Goodwin was able to persevere through the hard times with a positive spirit. Goodwin’s niece, Azaylia Clifton, remembered a time where she and her family went to visit the cafe during the pandemic.

“One of the hospital staff comes in and says hi to her, and it’s this awesome interaction. I just thought that was really cool because you couldn’t really get that in a really big cafe with multiple workers. And she’s always really friendly,” Clifton said.

This friendliness and kindness goes a long way to bringing positive spirits, especially during such a harsh time. But even during pre-pandemic times, Goodwin had always made an effort to stay positive and welcoming at her job, Clifton explains.

“She always takes the time to get to know her coworkers and the people who come down to her cafe and the office building. She decorates with her own money, and I always thought that was pretty cool. She has her own decorations for Christmas, Thanksgiving. And overall she’s just a really nice person to be around, and have food made for you, and I think she really cares about the people in her building,” Clifton said.

Goodwin has brought in motivational quotes to decorate the cafe, a little added touch to bring a brightness to her coworkers’ days.

“She definitely knows everyone in the building,” Clifton said.

Like many people, her life was directly impacted by the pandemic. One of the toughest things, Goodwin explained, was adjusting to wearing masks.

“It was very difficult during the summertime, especially over the grill. You know, it was a big change to have that heat held against your face all day long. And I get that, you know, we need them, but that was a huge transition to adjusting to wearing those while we were working,” Goodwin said.

Early in the pandemic, she worked in an area that put her in closer contact with COVID-19.

“Every day she’d come home and she’d immediately throw her laundry in the wash, whatever clothes she was wearing, to make sure she got no one infected,” Clifton said.

It was hard to adjust to work with COVID-19 restrictions. With limited staff, and fewer visitors, it was a completely different atmosphere to work in. Not only that, but with worries of the pandemic and more work to do with fewer staff members, working was much more tiring than it had been.

“The constant worry or you know, concern in the back of your mind, it wears you down after a while,” Goodwin said.

Despite all of this, Goodwin was able to get through it with a positive attitude, helping to bring a smile to the face of anyone who she served.

You have to “Roll with the punches, it’s just been, you know, take it as it comes, and do your best with it. We’ve all been through many changes this year, and we have to take it as they come,” Goodwin said.

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