This week we salute Robbie Griffiths, a 31-year-old employee of a Loblaws warehouse in Paradise, N.L. During the work day, Griffiths picks order and loads trailers – duties that are integral to the food distribution supply chain.
In his spare time, he transforms into your friendly neighbourhood Spiderman, visiting children in “reasonable driving distance” to brighten their day during the pandemic. He says he put a post on a Paradise community Facebook group, inviting people to let him know if they’d like Spiderman to walk by their homes. In no time at all, Griffiths says he had a “pile of requests.” So, for the past couple of weeks, he has used his days off to put smiles on dozens of young faces.
The idea, he says, came to him during a visit with his son, Logan, who just turned one. Griffiths says he sees Logan every day, but it’s usually through the window or from a distance. “It’s hard,” he says, “but I can’t work from home. Still, I want him to be safe.”
It was on one of these visits that Griffiths thought it would be fun to dress up as Spiderman. Logan, he says, was “super excited”, which is why he thought other kids might enjoy it as well.
They do. And as you’d expect from young children when they see a real, live Spiderman coming towards them, some of them try to hug him. Griffiths says he jumps back while reminding them that they too can be superheroes protecting the world – by keeping back at least six feet.
Though he says he’ll stop the neighborhood walk-throughs when the pandemic is over, Griffiths won’t be hanging up his webbing anytime soon. This civic-minded warehouse worker has made costumed appearances as Spiderman and Deadpool at the Janeway Children’s Hospital and for the Polka Dot Trot fundraiser for the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Care Foundation.
It really is true what they say: not all superheroes wear capes.
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to send staff home or shut down entirely. The employees who continue to go out and perform their jobs in public spaces are essential to society’s safety, health and well being – and they do so at great personal risk.
Atlantic Business Magazine wants to recognize and honour their sacrifice by naming an Essential Worker of the Week for every week this pandemic continues.