Michael Lucio has lost his source of income after working at Cheddar’s due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Despite losing his job unexpectedly, Lucio has taken a positive approach to the situation, using the free time to help the Lubbock community.
For the last two and a half years, Lucio has been a server at the Cheddar’s in Lubbock to help pay for his living and college expenses. Due to restaurants only providing service through drive-thru or takeout orders, the staff at Cheddar’s has been limited to primarily management and a few bartenders. As the staff has been cut down to handle less business, Lucio has been left looking for work.
“There’s so much uncertainty for so many families because they don’t know how they’re going to pay their bills,” Lucio said. “That’s what this job did for me, my brothers and I’m pretty sure so many other people across the nation. That job paid for living expenses, your bills, college tuition and whatever else it may be.”
As he lost his primary source of income, Lucio said it was hard for him at first. After realizing the circumstances, he then decided to reach out and Facebook to offer help to those in need for a reasonable price with the newfound free time. Lucio has offered to do small jobs ranging from mowing lawns and picking up groceries to even tutoring children.
While providing help for the elderly or those in need of assistance, Lucio is also doing small jobs to help the community with a positive approach.
“Putting money aside, I wanted to go out there and help those who don’t want to go out, and more so the older people. I know a lot of older people don’t want to go out right now with the risk of getting infected by the virus,” Lucio said. “I love to help people. That’s how I was brought up. I like to help in any way I can whether that’s bringing groceries to your house, cleaning your house or doing whatever I can to make their life easier.”
In hopes of spreading the word of his willingness to help, Lucio has reached out to people on Facebook, as well as going door-to-door to offer his help, looking to make a difference in the lives of those who may be stressed.
“It makes a difference,” Lucio said. “It may not seem that way at first, but when it’s done, when I can help, they know it made a difference in their life and it changes their attitude throughout the day or throughout the month knowing that they have someone that’s willing to help.”
Aside from his work, Lucio’s life has changed in regards to his education. Although the senior economics major from Lubbock will not miss graduation as he is set to walk across the stage in December, the switch to online classes has not been an easy transition for him.
With Texas Tech’s spring break being extended an extra week, several adjustments have been made to his course syllabi, resulting in stress for Lucio. From the added homework assignments to the cancellation of exams, Lucio said he is trying to get in the groove of things as online classes are something new to him.
“It’s different from being in actual class compared to doing an online class,” Lucio said. “I’m used to engaging with my professors and classmates on certain things, I’m used to going to my professors’ office hours versus doing it through Skype, Blackboard or email. It’s different.”
Aside from the learning curve, Lucio said he misses just going to the Student Union Building to visit with his friends and just walking on campus.
With the number of cases of COVID-19 continuing to rise in Lubbock, Lucio said it is scary to see something that has not occurred in his lifetime. Despite the concerns and panic of the pandemic, Lucio said he will continue to think positively as he knows the virus will end someday.
“I know this pandemic seems like it’s never gonna end, especially with the way it's spreading right now, but it’s gonna end sometime,” Lucio said. “It’s scary, but people have to get through it. They have to have a mindset of knowing there’s an endgame to all of this, knowing that life will return to normal someday. Even though it might not be soon enough, things will get normal again.”