Everyone at our Whitehaven store is so proud of our colleague Michaela Gorman who when lockdown began made the tough decision to send her 10-year-old son Rio to live with her partner’s parents so she could continue to help feed our customers.
Since then the only contact she's had with him is through FaceTime calls every evening – but despite everything she continues to turn up every day and provides a fantastic service.
Service section leader Michaela, who's worked at the store for three years, said: "We thought it was the safest option if Rio went to stay with my partner Patrick's parents Gill and Mike. They love him to bits and they've been an absolute godsend – he's been a bit spoiled!
"He's been there since the 22 March – that's when I dropped him off and said my goodbyes. We now FaceTime every night at 9pm – that's a given! At first I did go and see him through the window, but it was getting too difficult to pull myself away, so we stopped it.
"Rio was alright at first, but as time's gone on he keeps asking when can he come home. The hardest thing is giving him an answer. Hopefully things will ease soon and I will be able to see him and give him a nice big cuddle.
"I try to give it my all at work as we need to be here for the general public. I didn't think working in a supermarket would ever be frontline! My colleagues keep checking in and asking if I'm ok. I have a fantastic team around me."
Store manager Gerry Leggat says Michaela's sacrifice is inspirational. He said: "Proud is really an understatement. She is doing a brilliant job. Even today she is in on her day off helping out.
"We are only a small store and we are very close-knit and every single one of our colleagues here will look after her."