5/April/2020: Not All Superheroes Wear Capes (some of them wear kilts!)
This is Paula Keane. And more than likely, if you have ever been in Michie’s Rosemount Pharmacy, you will know who she is! The extremely charismatic and engaging Irish pharmacist, who is beloved by customers and colleagues alike. Moving to Aberdeen in 2004, Paula has been a pharmacist for 10 years this year! She originally started working in the gift shop, but was soon moved to the pharmacy when one of her colleagues overheard her dispensing a bit of advice that had nothing to do with gift bags or stationary! 😉 She never looked back...
Michie’s is in Paula’s blood. How could it not be when you have spent so much of your working life there? But the fact that the pharmacies are independent and family owned also sets the tone for this bond. There are so many long serving employees throughout the Michie’s branches, at once reflecting and reinforcing the values at the heart of their work. The same long standing dedication to serve the community is embodied by the staff who dedicate their working lives to that cause and to the company that delivers it.
Never has this commitment and resolve been tested more than now. In one week alone, Michie’s Rosemount experienced an unprecedented increase in patients visiting and phoning into the pharmacy. A dramatic change in their business - even to a well-seasoned pharmacist like Paula, not to mention veteran pharmacist Charles Michie who has been practising for 56 years. Paula affectionately refers to Charles as ‘her favourite Scotsman of all time, even more than Billy Connolly’. That’s some indictment! She is profuse in her praise of Charles and his brother John, as well as ‘Super Steve’ Michie. Not forgetting her incredible team - Sheena her dispenser and pharmacy student Vivienne - without whom Paula says she would have absolutely floundered. Together, along with all the network of pharmacists and staff, the team are working tirelessly to support each other and the community they serve through these unprecedented times.
This network of support is strengthened and reinforced by the wider community. Not surprising given the fact that Michie’s cultivates a personal relationship with its customers. Paula tells of being so humbled by the fact she is introduced to so many of her customers mum’s, dad’s, brother’s, sister’s, cousin’s and aunt’s! A member of their extended family, ‘you must come and meet Paula’, is a familiar refrain that echoes through the shop. So it was no shock that when faced with a crisis, the community pulled rank and closed in. Everywhere you look just now, there are so many acts of kindness, big and small. This is our humanity laid bare - the very way in which we treat people. Paula and the rest of the pharmacies have been inundated with countless gifts, from flowers to chocolates, crisps, biscuits, sweets, and, (perhaps most importantly😉), a bottle of wine or two! The significance of even the smallest act of kindness is to build a solid foundation of support, encouragement, and hope. Hope guides us. It motivates us. It keeps us strong. And we need it by the bucketload just now. When this crisis has passed, Paula says how she hopes to knight some very important people, ‘local legends’ like Sir Greg of the Sainsbury’s and Sir Greig of the Dog and Duck, Lady Fiona of Humbug sweet shop and Sir Michael of Gourmet cheese! And if she can’t find a sword to do it, then she’ll just use the one she got at last years HMT panto! 😉
She also hopes that when this is over, it will be the key workers, those on the front line, who will be rightly celebrated. The doctors, nurses, pharmacists, physios, delivery drivers, shop workers, cleaners, and all the incredible people who are working so hard to win this battle. These are our society’s superheroes. And they don’t wear capes. But they do wear gloves and face masks at the moment. Because, like any superhero, they aren’t immune to everything (even Superman had his kryptonite!) So please, do your part to protect them, so they can do theirs to protect us!
L.C & The Michies Team