Marking 21 years at the MTA, general station manager Germaine Jackson has spent the past few months on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, boosting employees’ morale and ensuring the safety of passengers.
When the crisis hit, Jackson knew that being available during the daytime only wouldn’t cut it. She began working the night shift, 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., handing out care packages of sanitizer and safety equipment to her team in the wee hours. She also put up posters at entrances and checked in on the conditions of the stations.
“I need my team to see me throughout the day, but I need to show my night people some love too, so I deliver stuff at night,” says Jackson. “They appreciate seeing me, and it’s just a great feeling. I love my job — it’s challenging at times, and we go through what we go through, but we’re MTA strong and I handle anything that comes my way.”
Jackson, who tested negative for the virus, has an 81-year-old mother at home with underlying conditions that make her susceptible to COVID-19, but Jackson remains unafraid and determined to help.
Every week she delivers supplies to her 13 stations between midtown and the Lower East Side. Once, on her way to a booth, Jackson was moved when a man on the street enthusiastically thanked her for her work.
“A lot of us, we’re wearing masks, and a lot of times people use their mouths to show appreciation, whether they’re saying it or smiling it. So instead they nod at you; they look at you; they say, ‘Thank you,’ with their eyes. They smile with their eyes.”