Tales from 2020: Mr. Heinz

Afternoon. March 15, 2020. One day after Virginia’s first coronavirus death.

Mr. Heinz was a bulldog of a man — short, squat, and mean. His uniform rotated between a set of dulled-down red shirts and khaki pants frayed and dirty from years of abuse. His mug was constantly crowned with a yellowed white hat bearing his personal logo: a simple, stylized “Heinz’s” in impact font.

Most tried to avoid interacting with him, but if Mr. Heinz spoke to you he was direct and demanding. His belief in transactional relationships meant that the more he spent, the deeper…