Business: Meet Alondra, a Hilton Hotel Employee in Bellevue, WA
Interviewer: Emily Feng, April 11, 2020
Interviewee: Alondra Balderas Garcia
Alondra Balderas Garcia (left) is a junior at Interlake High School and worked at the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel before the COVID-19 pandemic set-in (Alondra Balderas Garcia).
Could you tell us about how the pandemic has affected you?
Before this pandemic became our daily life and unsettling reality, I used to work in a Hilton Hotel in Bellevue. When the news first talked about the coronavirus, no one was worried--we all thought it would be something similar to ebola or another virus that would not cause a lot of harm. We figured we would be able to handle it in case any cases showed up in the United States.
But when the first case in the U.S was reported, it caused fear because it was in Washington State. We saw some numbers of guests drop but then it went back to normal. Until the news started warning of something more dangerous approaching our nation. Until it became official to start cancelling events and working offices like Microsoft and others. It was starting to become an alert for every hotel including ours. Our hotel started like every other in Washington to take extra cleaning measures and clean more and more frequently.
We receive people who travel internationally to Washington state because they come to meetings in Microsoft offices, Boeing offices, and offices of other companies. When the alerts came up in Washington state, many companies stopped sending their workers to Washington state and events were cancelled. And fewer and fewer guests started coming.
The Hilton Garden Inn Hotel in Bellevue downtown (Booking.com).
Fear of Asian or Asian-looking people is a reality now, because of the ignorant mindset that they are carriers of the COVID-19. People thought I was Asian because of the way I looked, and when it came to checking in guests, some people were not wanting to check in with me. Others would keep their distance from getting near to where I was. It did not affect me because I knew they were just scared. Fear was manipulating their decisions.
"Fear was manipulating their decisions."
Later on, as things got worse, we were all given few hours until eventually no one was coming, or the numbers were as low as 5 or 3. That’s when 90% of us were laid off. I loved working at Hilton, and I hope I can go back to work soon. Everyone is in desperate need of going back to work because not everyone was prepared for this. The United States was not prepared for this. Now people are worried of having enough money to pay bills, rent, and even of not having enough money to continue feeding their families. We need America to give help to all workers, not just the ones who fit their requirements.
But to families who are in the fields, still working risking their lives so that every American has something to put in their table: we need to be united and not let racism separate us and define who is and isn't considered American. At the end of the day, we are all helping in this chaos. The right and fair thing to do is give everyone a helping hand and not just if you fit the requirements paper. Thankfully, my family and I are doing well, but we know there are people out their who are not, and need help. There are people who need America to help everyone equally.