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Act Three: If These Dogs Could Talk

There are certain jobs where thinking about someone else’s life is just built into it. Aviva DeKornfeld has a theory that petsitting is a job like that.

Act Two: Game of Phones

Over the last few years, producer Chana Joffe-Walt has been checking in with someone who wears the mantle of being “it” well. She’s a school principal named Teresa Hill.

Prologue

Ira introduces us to Santa Allen. A man who is NOT the real Santa Claus but who will – for the first time ever – be sitting in a chair, dressed as Santa, asking little children what they want for Christmas this year.  He’s nervous.

Act One: Does Santa Believe in Himself?

Producer Aviva DeKornfeld accompanies Santa Allen to his first “chair gig” to see whether all of his hopes, or all of his fears, or a little of both, will be realized. (16 minutes)

Prologue

Guest host Chana Joffe-Walt talks to a carpenter whose job output went from fixing doors to something more urgent in the last year. (9 minutes)

Act One: Three Bottles of Joy

Station agent Moneta Lewis worked underground to shepherd disappearing commuters during the darkest days of the pandemic.

Act Two: The $25 Tip

The pandemic forced restaurant server Shelly Ortiz to put on her “Covid Goggles.” What she saw through them made her reevaluate her ideas of what’s important.

Act Three: Teacher Number Four

In Maine, early childhood educator Miss Jordyn Rossignol had several members of her workforce quit. But none hit her quite as hard as Shania.

Act Four: 12 Million Thank You Meals

What does “thank you” actually look like? And who gets one? For Flato Alexander and other essential workers, all sorts of symbols that hadn’t bothered them much before suddenly became unbearable.

Act One: The Extinguishers

We heard about these fire camps from Lizzie Johnson. She’s a reporter at The San Francisco Chronicle and spends most of the year chasing fires around California.

Prologue

Benjamen Walker of the podcast Theory of Everything tells guest host Sean Cole about an Uber drivers strike he came across in Kenya. The guys who didn’t join the strike and kept driving for Uber made extra money since there were fewer cars on the road.