Throughout this pandemic Ridgefield and neighboring communities — and towns all across the country — have seen exemplary displays of human character.

First responders and medical staff have been on the front lines, risking their lives and isolating themselves from their loved ones — all to help the sick. People have donated meals to hospital staffs, celebrated nurses and doctors in their neighborhoods with signs and cards. Government, businesses and citizens are working together to feed people in need.

But as always, there’s been a flip side. The pandemic has been used as a political battlefield. And, faced with a potentially deadly disease, some folks regress to a “It’s all about my safety and convenience” outlook.

Shopping centers around the area have had people leave their protective gloves dropped in parking lots. What are these people thinking? They’re wearing gloves to keep from getting germs on their hands. Which means those possibly contagious germs are on the gloves. But somebody will have to go around, pick up and properly dispose of those gloves.

Grocery store workers are already going above and beyond, faithfully doing their jobs during the pandemic. It’s not a big effort to find a receptacle to dispose of gloves in. Or, bring another bag to safely isolate them until they can be disposed of at home. Dropping them on the ground or leaving them on a cart for others to contend with is the ultimate “me first” attitude. Using this protective gear means disposing of it properly — and that doesn’t mean passing it on to the next person to deal with who is just as eager to avoid contamination as you are.

We’re also seeing signs that some patience is wearing thin due to longer lines and not being able to purchase everything customers want from local retailers. Again, the people working in stores that provide needed supplies are out there taking risks to serve the public — just like the nurses and doctors and first responders. It is disappointing that customers sometimes vent frustrations on retail staff when things run out.

Everyone is going through similar trials and frustrations — but some still have it better than others. There are many people who would love to be able to wait in line and buy the groceries they need. There are people who can’t afford a meal let alone filling up their shopping cart — they’re unemployed due to this mess. Many people are ill and suffering in this pandemic, or have family members who are suffering. The future is uncertain for all. People are angry and impatient and, most of all, scared. It isn’t just about you.

Frustrated shoppers: Take a breath, relax, be thankful that you still can shop — and don’t drop the gloves!