Your Views: ‘Thank you’ in one’s own language opens doors

Your Views: ‘Thank you’ in one’s own language opens doors

To the editor:

I love meeting people and learning about their cultures. Especially those who have immigrated to the United States. Alexandria is made up of residents from all over the world and you never know who you’ll meet next.

That’s why I keep trying to learn how to say “thank you” in more languages. It opens doors, lowers shoulders and brings new, undiscovered smiles, even over the phone.

And that’s what I do, I talk on the phone. I work as a case investigator for the Alexandria Health Department. We contact people who receive a positive COVID-19 test result to provide guidance and assistance. Our phone calls can help you know what to do next to prevent the spread.

The other day, I called a person who tested positive a couple of months ago. This check in was to see if they needed support scheduling a COVID-19 vaccine now that they recovered from their illness. Yes, you need to be vaccinated even if you had COVID-19. This is your best protection to avoid reinfection.

The gentleman moved from another country recently, I learned during the phone call. After verifying his identity, I offered him a “thank you” in his native language. He was willing to talk with me about how he was feeling and we discussed whether he needed help booking an appointment. A few days later, this Alexandrian and his girlfriend got their booster shots with a view, at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial.

Often, when I speak to people who have been recently diagnosed with COVID-19, they are stressed out and frustrated. By offering a bit of humanity, sometimes in the form of someone’s native language, we can build some common ground and get through it together.

I hope that you never need my services as a case investigator. But if I do call because you had a positive test, thank you for answering. As a community, we can keep Alexandria healthy.

-Paul Mazzuca, Alexandria