Grocery store clerk, 27, made just $20.64 on her final paycheck before she died of coronavirus: Mom reveals the tiny sum her daughter was paid while she kept working to help elderly customers, despite the risk of infection

A young grocery store clerk who died of COVID-19 after she continued going to work despite the danger of catching the virus made just $20.64 on her final paycheck.  
Leilani Jordan, 27, passed away on April 1, two weeks after her last shift at the Giant Food store in Largo, Maryland.  
Jordan's heartbroken parents say that she had chosen to keep working at the store even as the coronavirus outbreak accelerated across the US because she wanted to help elderly customers. 
In an emotional interview with MSNBC, Jordan's mother Zenobia Shepherd broke down in tears as she described how the Giant Food store was short-staffed and employees were not provided with gloves or hand sanitizer.
Shepherd said that her daughter had cerebral palsy and 'cognitive delays', which meant she may not have 'fully understood the potential danger of the coronavirus'. 
She said the retailer mailed her a certificate marking Jordan's six years of service, along with her last paycheck. 
'She would've loved to receive this herself. Leilani's paycheck. I got this paycheck yesterday for $20,' Shepherd said.
'Twenty dollars and sixty four cents. My baby's gone because of $20.64. You know what using the proper PPE [personal protective equipment] could've done for my baby?'
In an emotional interview with MSNBC, Jordan's mother Zenobia Shepherd broke down in tears as she described how the Giant Food store was short-staffed and employees were not provided with gloves or hand sanitizer despite the risk they faced due to coronavirus
In an emotional interview with MSNBC, Jordan's mother Zenobia Shepherd broke down in tears as she described how the Giant Food store was short-staffed and employees were not provided with gloves or hand sanitizer despite the risk they faced due to coronavirus
'My baby's gone because of $20.64,' Shepherd said. 'You know what using the proper PPE [personal protective equipment] could've done for my baby?'
'My baby's gone because of $20.64,' Shepherd said. 'You know what using the proper PPE [personal protective equipment] could've done for my baby?'
Shepherd is seen comforting her daughter while she was hooked up to a ventilator
Shepherd is seen comforting her daughter while she was hooked up to a ventilator
'What mother wants to lose their baby to a virus that we can't see?' Shepherd continued. 
'For $20.64 they could've bought a box of gloves to give them. They could've kept that paycheck. She did this from her heart, not for the money.'
In another interview with CNN, Shepherd recounted a conversation she had with her daughter shortly before she fell ill. 
'She said: "It's just crazy here at work ... but somebody's got to do it. I've got to help the older people,"' Shepherd recalled. 
'She was doing everything for them. Helping them put their groceries in their walkers, to helping them get into lifts.' 
Jordan's tragic story captured attention on social media as users expressed outrage over how little she had earned during the time she spent working in dangerous conditions. 
Kashana Cauley, a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, tweeted a link to the story and wrote: 'Nothing says "essential worker" like "her last paycheck before she died was $20.64."' 
'I am so sorry for the family. She was too young to give up a lifetime for peanuts they were paying her,' another user tweeted. 
Several people shared similar experiences working at grocery stores during the pandemic, noting how little employees are paid compared to the risk they are taking. 
'I'm a grocery store worker and we're not even getting hazard pay, despite us being extremely stressed with the amount of people that come in,' a woman tweeted. 
'My mom's a cashier (used to be part time but her full time job laid her off) and she's only getting a whole 2 dollars extra per hour to work in a PLAGUE,' another wrote.
Jordan's tragic story captured attention on social media as users expressed outrage over how little she had earned during the time she spent working in dangerous conditions
Jordan's tragic story captured attention on social media as users expressed outrage over how little she had earned during the time she spent working in dangerous conditions
Maryland issues stay-at-home order to combat the coronavirus
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In response to the Shepherd's MSNBC interview, Giant Food said that at the time of Jordan's last day of work, March 16, the CDC was not yet recommending associates or customers wear masks, so they were not being provided by the stores.
'The CDC has recently updated its recommendations and we have supplied all of our associates with plastic shields to wear if they choose,' the company said in a statement.  
It noted that stores always had hand sanitizer and/or cleaning products available, and said employees have always been allowed to wear gloves, but are only required to do so if they work as a food service associate. 
The company also said it has been 'supporting Leilani's family during this difficult time and have been in direct contact with her mother to address her needs'.
'Our Giant Food family is mourning Leilani's passing, along with her family, as she was a valued associate who has been part of our Giant Food family since 2016,' the statement reads. 
'Caring for associates in times of need is at the heart of our commitment to our associates. 
'We are committed to providing resources and support to Leilani's family during this difficult time.'
The Giant Food store in Largo where Jordan worked is shown above. The company has said that it was not providing masks to employees at the time of Jordan's last shift because they had not yet been recommended by the CDC
The Giant Food store in Largo where Jordan worked is shown above. The company has said that it was not providing masks to employees at the time of Jordan's last shift because they had not yet been recommended by the CDC
The company further stated that as an essential business, it is 'committed to providing food and essential products to our communities, but we want our team to stay home if they are having any symptoms and feel unwell or are uncomfortable coming to work'.
Soon after Jordan's death, Giant Food announced on its website that it was implementing additional social distancing policies in all of its locations, including limiting the number of customers allowed in at a time and making aisles one-way traffic only.  
Shepherd said customers had been calling to thank her for all the help her daughter gave them. 
'No one knew just how much of an impact she made except for the customers,' she said. 
'Leadership is not going out of their way to protect the vulnerable class like the seniors who shop there... and the people with disabilities who worked there.' 
Jordan's family set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for her medical bills and funeral costs, which has raised more than $161,000 as of Tuesday.  
Shepherd said that her daughter suffered from cerebral palsy and had 'cognitive delays', which meant she may not have 'fully understood the potential danger of the coronavirus'
Jordan is pictured in a recent social media snap
Shepherd said that her daughter suffered from cerebral palsy and had 'cognitive delays', which meant she may not have 'fully understood the potential danger of the coronavirus'
Jordan worked her last shift at Giant Food on March 16, before she started to have difficulty breathing. 
A few days later, she was tested for COVID-19 and returned a positive result. Last Wednesday, when her symptoms worsened, Jordan was hospitalized and placed on a ventilator. 
She died just a few hours later. 
Despite her cognitive delay, it appears Jordan may have realized that she was going to pass away, as she recorded a video message in her phone for her family. 
Her stepfather, Charles Shepherd, told CNN:  'She had taken her password off of her phone so it's wasn't locked.'
'She made a video saying goodbye to all us, and wished everybody the best,' he emotionally stated. 
'She told us bye; her sisters,[and her service dog] Angel, bye; and all her friends.'
'She told them, you know, 'See you on the other side''. 
It was a particularly gut-wrenching moment as Jordan had been unable to say goodbye in person, as she was intubated and hooked up to a ventilator. 
Shepherd is one of a number of grocery store employees who have died from COVID-19. 
While there is no confirmation that she contracted the disease while working with Giant Food, the fact that supermarket clerks are in close proximity with the general public increases their chances of becoming infected. 
Earlier this month, a family of a Walmart employee in Illinois who died after contracting coronavirus filed a lawsuit accusing the retail giant of failing to adequately screen and protect workers. 
The estate of Wando Evans filed the suit on April 6, saying the Walmart store south of Chicago was not properly cleaned and employees were not given masks, gloves, antibacterial wipes or other protective equipment.
Evans, 51, died on March 25, and another employee at the same store died four days later from complications due to coronavirus, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit filed by Evans' estate accuses Walmart of negligence and wrongful death in violation of Illinois law.
According to the complaint, Walmart did not follow guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Department of Labor for maintaining safe workplaces, such as implementing social distancing.
Grocery store workers have been calling for better pay and protections amid the COVID-19 outbreak, saying they are risking their lives in order to continue their essential roles.   
Workers at Amazon's fulfillment center in Staten Island, New York, protest work conditions in the company's warehouse last month
Workers at Amazon's fulfillment center in Staten Island, New York, protest work conditions in the company's warehouse last month
Grocery store clerk, 27, made just $20.64 on her final paycheck before she died of coronavirus: Mom reveals the tiny sum her daughter was paid while she kept working to help elderly customers, despite the risk of infection Grocery store clerk, 27, made just $20.64 on her final paycheck before she died of coronavirus: Mom reveals the tiny sum her daughter was paid while she kept working to help elderly customers, despite the risk of infection Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 01:10 Rating: 5

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