A Father’s Sacrifice: A Short Story about an Epidemic

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There was a terrible epidemic at that time. The last week of the month was the most critical period for the prevention and control of infectious diseases in the entire community.

The disease spread quickly, and more and more people were infected. Just by talking to someone, several more people would catch the infection. What was even more difficult was that the number of cleaners in the community was decreasing every day. They worked hard, but they left the next day without saying goodbye. When I asked why, they said they were afraid of getting infected. After all, more than 50 people had contracted this dreadful infectious disease in the cleaning job. Especially the drivers of three-wheeled cleaning vehicles, almost every driver had quit their job due to this terrible disease.

Cleaners had to be recruited every day, and the glorious task of recruiting three-wheeled cleaning truck drivers fell on me. Who made me the youngest and least qualified here?

In the past few weeks, the number of infected people had not been so many, and I could occasionally recruit some drivers. But this week, the number of infected people was really too high, and I guessed that no one would apply for this position. Besides, the salary was not high. However, this time we increased the salary for this position to 2,200 yuan per week.

I posted the recruitment advertisement at the door, and I also sent relevant information in my circle of friends, just waiting for someone to bite. On normal days, the duty room could close at eight o’clock in the evening. But no one came that day, so I thought I should stay in the duty room for a while, maybe someone would apply for the job. When it was almost ten o’clock in the evening, I was about to close the door and go back to the dormitory, but I heard someone knock on the door and greet me: “Hello, are you still… hiring a driver?” “Yes… Yes.” I answered quickly. As if seeing a savior, I was glad that someone had applied for the job.

“I’m applying.” The visitor said. He was not tall, with a dark face, and looked like he was in his fifties. He was wearing a mask, I motioned him to sit down, and I handed him a job application form. Once he filled out the form, he would basically get the job.

He picked up a pen to fill in the form, and I talked to him, and learned about his basic situation by the way. “Why are you here so late?” I asked.

“I actually saw your message this morning. I have another job, and I’m helping people deliver goods.” He said, “It’s just right to come to work with you after delivering the goods.”

The driver of the three-wheeled cleaning vehicle worked after ten o’clock every night and could finish in the early morning. It seemed that he understood the working hours of this job. I wanted to get close to him, so I asked, “You can only have one job and take more rest.”

He smiled wryly and said: “No way. There are two children in my family, one is going to college and the other is going to middle school. Time is money. There are also two old people who are sick in bed and only have lunch once a day at this time…” ”

Where is your wife?” I asked again.

“She’s at work too. She’s like me. She works two jobs a day. She cooks for a company during the day and works as a part-time worker at night…” He finished filling out his form and I was about to tell him about his duties when he spoke first: “I know if you do this job you must always worry about being infected by this terrible infectious disease.” “Yes,
you must take good precautions. You… are you really not afraid of being infected?” I asked quietly.

He paused for a while and said in a low voice: “I’m afraid, who wouldn’t be… But what can I do?”

I informed him that he would start work tomorrow night and I stopped asking questions. I knew my words were redundant.

One after another we walked out of the duty room. Street lamps stretched our shadows very long, very long.

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