When we celebrate Ontario’s frontline food heroes, it’s a great way to acknowledge the hard work and dedication that they’ve demonstrated over the course of the pandemic.
But sometimes you encounter a frontline food worker whose work ethic inspires others, as if they were simply made to go above and beyond – pandemic or not.
Nathan Chindemi is a perfect example of this.
At 26, Nathan has been a dedicated team member at Metro on Upper Middle Road in Oakville for a decade now. During that time, he has more than earned the respect and admiration of co-workers and customers alike – even in the face of serious health challenges that have required him to have a pacemaker, and as an adult with functional autism.
“His passion for helping others is beyond words,” says Debbie Seymour, who nominated Nathan as a Frontline Food Hero. As it turns out, Debbie is actually Nathan’s mom, but she isn’t nominating him for that reason. “If you ask any manager at Metro, they’ll say the same thing,” explains Seymour. “Everybody knows Nathan and respects him.”
Nathan’s can-do attitude and willingness to pitch in are hallmarks of his days while working in the produce section, at front cash, or managing the parking lot carts. In fact, Nathan’s boundless energy and enthusiasm for work has earned him affectionate nicknames like Nate the Great and Hurricane. Lately, because of COVID-19, he also puts in overtime hours and covers if the store is short-staffed – a reality sometimes right now.
And for however many challenges the pandemic has brought for frontline workers, Nathan hasn’t let anything stand in his way. “At first, I suggested that Nathan should stay away from work during COVID-19 because of his pacemaker,” explains Seymour, “but his response was ‘no way.’”
Nathan understands just how important safety is right now, for his fellow frontline workers and for the customers. He’s an ace when it comes to following safety protocols and tends to the produce section with great care. Lately, his work also involves quite a bit of cleaning and disinfecting the shopping carts, and when Nathan sees a customer who has forgotten to put a mask on, he’s quick to remind them.
Even with all of his responsibilities (and with the challenges that he and everyone else is facing right now because of the pandemic), Nathan still finds a way to make time for customers who could use a little extra assistance – on Thursdays, his store has a designated shopping time for seniors and those with special needs. “Nathan cannot wait to help them out,” says Seymour. “He loves it, and he’ll even carry out their groceries to their cars.”
Here’s to Nathan – a true Frontline Food Hero who’s making a difference every day.