Job or family? Coronavirus fears prompt South Jersey man to make a choice

WEST DEPTFORD, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — The novel coronavirus outbreak has put a lot of families between the proverbial rock and a hard place. One South Jersey man says he had to choose between his family and his job, and he’s choosing his family.

Mike Lombardo lives in West Deptford with his wife and two kids. Last Monday, he stopped hauling new cars out of a yard along I-95 in Delaware County to closed dealerships within a 150-mile radius. 

He says he was forced to do a non-essential job at the risk of exposing the family to the virus. And for Lombardo, that just goes too far.

“If they were to call me tomorrow and say we’re renting a bunch of box trucks and we need you guys to deliver water, food, supplies, medical, anything, I’ll jump right on board,” Lombardo said. “That I can stomach, if I’m going to maybe get my family sick from this. Then I could justify going into work. But not for new car delivery.”

His wife still brings home a paycheck from DuPont, and he’s filed for unemployment which he may not get. 

If he doesn’t, he’ll take unpaid family leave until the situation “calms down.”

He says none of his 50 co-workers have made a similar decision. But given the area he had to serve, he said the choice was not hard to make.

“We go to New York. We go to North Jersey. We go to Pennsylvania. We go to Delaware. We go to Maryland,” Lombardo added. “I mean this is my radius. I mean this is the hot zone. I couldn’t justify delivering new cars and maybe getting my family sick.”

His employer, United Road Services, located just outside Detroit, said in a statement they “encourage” drivers to stay home if they don’t feel comfortable driving. The company also said they are considered an essential business by states they operate in that have a stay-at-home order.